08/03/2018 House of Commons


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08/03/2018

Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons, including a general debate marking the centenary of Parliament granting the first women the right to vote.


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victims, but also to the families

around than who must be having such

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a worried and anxious time right

now.

Audit. Point of order, Yvette

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Cooper.

Thank you. Can you advise on

the course of action when a private

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company gives commitments and

assurances to Parliament and its

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select committees on issues that

affect national security and public

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safety and then fails to meet them?

There is widely available on YouTube

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this week the band illegal

propaganda videos from the extremist

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prescribed organisation National

action. Despite the fact this video

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has been raised with YouTube and

Google seven times by the select

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committee over the past 12 months,

despite the fact they have promised

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us that that video is illegal and

will be taken down and they would

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have the technology to prevent it

being put back up, have you had any

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indication that the government will

look into this? And do you share my

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immense concern that this was one of

the richest companies in the world

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and is failing to meet its basic

responsibilities to tackle extremism

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and protect public safety in this

country?

Grateful to the right

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honourable lady for her point of

order and I share her intense

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concern on the matter. National

Action is, as I'm sure everyone in

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the house will agree, a despicable

fascist neo-Nazi organisation. My

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understanding is that it has been

proscribed. It was prescribed by the

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Home Secretary. If those commitments

had been made, they must be

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honoured. The right honourable lady

suggested that commitments had been

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given by those companies, not merely

to her as an individual, but perhaps

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to the home affairs select

committee. If that is so, and those

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commitments have not been honoured,

it is open to the committee, but it

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should not be necessary for the

committee to demand, as a matter of

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urgency, the appearance of

representatives of one or more of

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those companies before it to explain

itself. This matter must be sorted

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sooner rather than later, and my

strong sense is that that would be

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the will of the house, but I think

that the will of the house can also

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be expressed on the public audit

considerations can most

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appropriately be articulated by the

Home Secretary who thankfully is in

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her place.

Just briefly, if I may,

the Right honourable lady is

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absolutely right to raise this

issue. National Action, as you

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rightly said, is a prescribed group.

I prescribed it myself. It is a

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terrorist organisation. The fact is

Internet companies have made good

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progress in taking down Daesh book

is material and we have demonstrated

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they can take down with our own

system, we've shown 94% of material

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that goes up from Daesh rote type

organisations, but we need to see

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much more effort into the particular

area of the extreme right wing

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groups like the honourable lady has

raised. We need to see more effort

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by using artificial intelligence and

I hope the right honourable lady can

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work with me to make sure we hold

them all to account.

I'm grateful.

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We would not want a situation to

arise in which the right honourable

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lady felt it necessary to write to

me alleging a contempt of the house.

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That is a recourse open to her, of

course, if people do not comply and

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do not under their undertakings. We

very much hope that will happen

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very, very soon. Thank you.

On a

point of order, today we've had

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reports in the media that one in ten

councils could follow Tory

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Northamptonshire into technical

bankruptcy according to the National

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Audit Office. The main causes are

the relentless 50% cuts in central

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government funding to councils and

the increasing pressures on

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children's and adult services,

resulting in the cutting of other

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vital services. The unsustainable

one off sales of assets and the use

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of reserves. Given this is the worst

crisis facing local government in

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the sector's 170 year history, and

given the government is unwilling

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and unprepared to give time to the

opposition to debate matters like

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this, as the secretary of state

given you, sir, any indication that

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he will come to the house today to

make a statement so that members can

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question his disastrous splash and

burn strategy and the findings of

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this most devastating National Audit

Office report in the fullest manner

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possible?

He has given me no such

indication and I must say to the

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honourable gentleman that the

secretary of state is a very willing

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fellow but we wouldn't in any way or

case want to countenance the idea of

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him interfering with the time

available for the debate about

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International Women's Day. However

he has registered his concern, which

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will have been heard on the Treasury

bench, and I note what he says about

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the absence of opposition supply

days at the moment which would be a

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normal mechanism by which such

matters could be out. If he and his

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colleagues want such matters to be

aired in the chamber, he can rest

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assured that they will be aired will

stop they can be aired on the terms

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of the secretary of state in the

form of a statements, which would be

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open to him to volunteer, but if

they are not aired in that way, they

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will be aired in another way. If

there are no further point of order,

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I'm grateful. We come to the

presentation of Bill. Christine

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Jardine. Second reading, what day?

June 15.

June 15, thank you. Order.

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Presentation of Bill, Chris Green.

Forensic science regulator Bill.

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What day?

Friday 16th of March.

Friday 16th March, thank you. Thank

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you, colleagues. We now come to the

general debate relating to Vote 100

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and International Women's Day will

stop its a busy day for the Home

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Secretary, but for these purposes

more particularly for the Minister

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for women and equality who will

move. Amber Rudd.

I beg to move that

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this house welcomes International

Women's Day. As an occasion to come

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together to celebrate the

achievements of women whilst also

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recognising the inequalities that

still exist. Across the world,

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International Women's Day is being

marked with arts performances,

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talks, rallies, conferences, marches

and debates like this one. It is a

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great honour to be leading today's

debate. 2018 is a particularly

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significant here to be having this

discussion in the UK, as we mark 100

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years since some women won the right

to vote after a long and arduous

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struggle. In 1919, Nancy Astor

became the first women to take a

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seat in the house. Can you imagine

walking into this chamber as the

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loan woman amongst a crowd of men?

It wouldn't be until 1979 that we

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would get our first female Prime

Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

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The Parliament I joined in 2010 was

a different place to the Parliament

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of Nancy Astor's day. There were 142

other female MPs on the benches and

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we had a female Home Secretary, a

trend I am proud to continue, and we

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now have a more diverse Parliament

than ever with 208 female MPs, a

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third of the Cabinet are women and

we also have our second female Prime

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Minister. But getting women into

Parliament isn't simply about

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changing the faces on these benches.

At its heart, it's about how we use

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our position is here to make

meaningful change to women's lives

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across the UK and the world because

from here, we can bring about real

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change. I give way to the honourable

lady.

I am grateful. I want to join

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her in bottling International

Women's Day and the fact that the

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commission on the status of women is

meeting again in New York next week

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and which she agreed that it's

really important that it comes up

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with strong policies so that women

in rural communities are adequately

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supported?

I would like to agree

with her that the meeting on the

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commission for women is going to be

important and her emphasis on making

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sure that we get real policies for

women in rural communities is also

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essential. I am proud to be part of

a Government that has wholeheartedly

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committed to improving the lives of

women and girls. Since 2010, we have

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made significant progress to excel a

gender equality at home and abroad.

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Whether this is by empowering women

in the workplace, tackling violence

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against women and girls on improving

girls education across the globe.

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There is much more to do. Sexual

harassment scandals, stories of

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debauched dinners, one third of

women worldwide experiencing

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physical or sexual violence and an

estimated 118 years to close the

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global gender pay gap. As the theme

for this year's International

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Women's Day makes clear, we must

continue to press for progress. This

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effort must disband countries and

continents, policy areas and

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political allegiances -- this effort

must span countries. I want about

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three areas where women are losing

out to men globally and what we're

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going to do about it. The first is

violence. Too many women and girls

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face harm and abuse. The second is

money, more women still earn less

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than their male counterparts do. The

third is influence. I run the world,

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men still occupy the majority of the

top jobs. -- around the world.

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Violence, a truly equal society is

one where everyone is free from the

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threat of gendered violence and

today I am proud to announce the

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launch of the Government's

consultation into tackling domestic

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abuse. This consultation will help

inform the introduction of the

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domestic abuse Bill. We know that

domestic abuse affects approximately

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2 million people in England and

Wales every year and the majority of

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these victims are women. This

Government is determined to do all

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we can to confront the devastating

impact that this has on victims and

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their families and in doing so,

address a key cause of gender

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inequality. Our consultation seeks

to transform our approach to

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domestic abuse, addressing the issue

at every stage from prevention to

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early intervention to bringing more

perpetrators to justice. It

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reinforces our determination to make

domestic abuse everyone's business.

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This comprehensive consultation will

last for 12 weeks and I encourage

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every member of the House to engage

with it and shaded with those in

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their networks who have or should

have an interest in this area. Share

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it with those in their networks.

This is an opportunity to bring

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those crimes out of the shadows.

The

Minister will know that last week

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the United Nations commission on

discrimination against women said

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that how we treat women in Northern

Ireland by denying them access to

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abortion in their formation is a

form of violence against women.

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Today, 135 parliamentarians across

the House have written to her,

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asking with another deflation to

commit to providing an opportunity

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to put that right. Will she give

women in Northern Ireland equal

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opportunities government access to

abortion rights?

I thank her for the

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good work she has done in this area

and the good work she has done to

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make sure that for the first time,

women in Northern Ireland have

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access to abortions and we now have

a new system, a centralised system

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for those women who can find it much

easier than they ever have before to

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access that health support that I

know she thinks as I do is so vital

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going forward. On the consultation,

it will last for 12 weeks and I urge

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every member of the House to engage

with it because domestic violence

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isn't the only type of violence

which demands are urgent attention.

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Internationally, we must continue to

combat violence against women and

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girls. Globally, one in three women

are beaten or sexually abused in a

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lifetime. We are generating world

leading evidence through our £25

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million what works to prevent

violence against women and girls

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programme. This year resulted in 15

intervention is being evaluated

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across Africa and Asia. It will

provide new global evidence about

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what works to stop violence before

it starts. We want is evidence to be

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a game changer in supporting more

effective UK and international

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support for ending violence against

women and girls globally. It is

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essential that we put what we

learned into practice.

I welcome the

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announcement she is making about the

international dimension to

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protecting women against violence.

Can she ensure the House that as

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part of consultation on violence

against women here at that refugees

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are probably resourced -- refuges?

Many have closed down in my

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constituency and women need proper

support when they have to go to

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refuges because they have faced

violence. Can she assure the House

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that will happen?

I can assure the

House that making sure that women

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have the right support at refuges is

an essential part of the support we

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will provide for women when they

become victims of domestic abuse.

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There are concerns in the sector

about how those will be funded and

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there is a consultation on going but

we will not oversee a reduction in

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beds. We are looking for the most

efficient, effective way of

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delivering that support and nothing

is off the table.

I think probably

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we were all shocked across this

House when we heard of the reports

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of sexual harassment and abuse in

the aid sector. When we are looking

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at what happens to women

internationally, it's very important

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that we hold our charitable

organisations and charities feet to

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the fire in tackling the abuse that

is being reported. How does she

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propose that we can ensure and

trustees organisations to deal with

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the allegations of sexual

exploitation in the aid sector?

My

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honourable friend will have heard

the member for Portsmouth in her

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conviction and determination to make

sure that she holds the charitable

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sectors feet to the fire. It is a

wholly unacceptable that anybody

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going out for a charity should take

any advantage from vulnerable girls

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and women in the sector. I am

confident in my honourable friend

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for Portsmouth's activity in this

area. The second area I wanted to

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discuss his money. A truly equal

society is also one where women and

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men are equally economically

empowered. Globally, women are less,

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have fewer assets and do 60 to 80%

of unpaid domestic work. One in ten

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money women in developing countries

are not consulted by their husbands

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on how their incomes are spent and

in the UK, we are enjoying record

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female employment but we are also

facing a national gender pay gap of

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80%. -- 18%. We might have equality

in the workplace but paycheques are

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telling a different story. That's

why the Government hasn't a just

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world leading legislation.

Does she

not agree that this is not a matter

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of social equality but also for

economic equality, bearing in mind

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that the estimate this week, if we

close the gender pay gap, it would

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mean an extra £90 billion going into

the income of women and that is a

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staggering figure will reflect on

what that means for how women are

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being kept putter as a result of the

pay gap -- get poorer.

It is not

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about the individual women and

individual family, it is also about

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the country as a whole. If we can

raise pay anyway that is there,

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it'll be good for the economy of the

country so that is why we have

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introduced a world leading

legislation requiring organisations

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with over 250 employees to publish

their gender pay gap by the end of

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this tax year and I want businesses

to have their pay gaps laid bare and

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then to do something about it.

She

will have read in the press some

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speculation that organisations may

be flouting the gender pay gap

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reporting regulations that this

Government has rightly brought in.

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Could she outline to the House what

action the Government will be taking

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to make sure that businesses to take

this very seriously indeed?

I thank

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my honourable friend who has done

such important work in this area.

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She will know that it was a

manifesto commitment to bring this

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foreword. It is the law and we will

be making sure that companies do

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stick to it. They abide by it and

deliver it and then hopefully they

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will make changes on it. Equality is

not just about getting women the

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same pay as men, it's about getting

women the same jobs as men too. I

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have lost track of the number of

meetings I have sat in with I am the

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only woman at the table. I expect I

am not the only one. Women are still

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underrepresented in a range of

fields from politics to business and

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particularly at the top. We have

made good progress since 2010 and

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have eliminated all male boards in

the FTSE 100 but only a quarter of

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directorships and CEOs are women and

this is not good enough. It is bad

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economics, too. We know that

organisations with the highest

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levels of gender diversity in the

leadership teams are 15% more likely

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to outperform their industry rivals

so we must think long and hard about

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what we need to do to improve these

statistics. I am pleased to

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support... I give way.

I thank the

Secretary of State for allowing me

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to intervene and I endorse what she

says about being the only woman in

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meetings. That still does happen.

But when she agree that women women

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may reach those senior levels in

business that they must be paid

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equally to men and sadly today,

there are still a lot of women doing

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the same work of equal value and not

achieving equal pay?

The honourable

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lady is absolutely right, they must

be paid the same as men. It has been

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a legal for equal work not to be

equally pay for many years but we

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are trying to take that one step

further. Honourable members will

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know that there has been reporting

substantial companies in banking, in

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media, which has shown the scale the

gender pay gap and the managing

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directors, the senior directors, are

having to take action as a result of

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it which is very welcome. The target

to achieve 33% of women on board and

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an executive committees has been

achieved by some companies. Women

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deserve to get to the top of all

professions and is filed their

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aspirations take them. I would like

to end by quoting Emmeline Pankhurst

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who famously said that the

suffragettes had to make more noise

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than anybody else for their cause to

be heard and to enact the change

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that they wanted. Man or women, we

must continue the legacy of the

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suffragettes, suffragists and their

supporters. We must all make enough

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noise. The agenda must be continued.

This is an important debate and I

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urge everyone here to continue to

press for progress as the

0:21:450:21:48

International Women's Day slogan

suggests, to finally achieve the two

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gender equality women have been

fighting for for so long. -- true

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gender equality.

The question is

that this House has considered, Ford

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100 and International Women's Day.

Shadow Minister for women and

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equality is.

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I am so pleased we are making time

available today to continue this

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important tradition of marking

International Women's Day. I would

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like to thank Mr Speaker. He has

made history, helped me to raise the

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International Women's Day's flag

over parliament buildings for the

0:22:310:22:33

first time in this history, and to

that, I would like to salute this to

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speak. International Women's Day

this year has been a roller-coaster

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of emotions for me. Reading about

the struggle that has to some women

0:22:440:22:50

gaining the vote to vote in a

general election 100 years ago, it

0:22:500:22:55

highlighted just how far we have

come, but also, just how far we

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still have to go. It also led me to

reflect on the persistent

0:22:590:23:04

inequalities relating to class and

ethnicity, as well as gender.

0:23:040:23:10

Working-class men had been denied

the vote until 1918 and it paved the

0:23:100:23:15

way for working-class women, there

in franchising. Our demand for

0:23:150:23:20

equality goes beyond the vote, vital

though it is, of course. We are

0:23:200:23:24

interested in the advancement on a

broad front and we cannot ignore the

0:23:240:23:28

fact that class and race often go

hand in hand in the struggle for

0:23:280:23:33

equality. There is little doubt that

2018 is turning out to be a landmark

0:23:330:23:40

year for women. The decades of

campaigning that led to women's

0:23:400:23:45

suffrage a year ago highlights what

women can achieve when we unite and

0:23:450:23:47

organise. Madam Deputy Speaker, if

all women were granted the vote in

0:23:470:23:54

1918, we woman would have been the

majority. It took another ten years

0:23:540:24:01

before full equality for women was

enshrined in the representation of

0:24:010:24:05

people open franchise act 1928. As I

said, that legislation was the

0:24:050:24:12

result of decades of struggle by

famous and not so famous people. I

0:24:120:24:18

remember hearing a saying, if you

hold the pen, you write the history.

0:24:180:24:22

It is hard to understand until you

start reading bits of history and

0:24:220:24:26

you realise there are bits missing.

My team today is taken from the

0:24:260:24:31

writer Virginia Woolf, she said, for

most of history, anonymous was a

0:24:310:24:37

woman -- my theme today. On the

march on Sunday, I was asked who I

0:24:370:24:42

was marching for, I said I was

marching for the hidden history of

0:24:420:24:45

women, for the women whose

campaigning zeal did not make them

0:24:450:24:49

famous and indeed for women who

suffered and still suffer in

0:24:490:24:53

silence. The role of women of colour

in the suffragette movement has

0:24:530:24:58

often been overlooked. I am so

grateful to the Commons library for

0:24:580:25:02

unearthing the case of Sarah Parker

Redmond, the only known woman of

0:25:020:25:08

colour to have signed the first

petition for women's suffrage in

0:25:080:25:12

1866. She was a prominent

African-American lecturer,

0:25:120:25:18

abolitionist and agent of the

African American anti-slavery

0:25:180:25:20

society. Sarah was an educated,

independent woman of wealth, why

0:25:200:25:28

would she be hidden from the history

of the suffragettes movement? There

0:25:280:25:33

can only be one answer. The colour

of her skin. Today, Madam Deputy

0:25:330:25:39

Speaker, I would like to salute

Sarah Parker Redmond in Parliament

0:25:390:25:44

so that her name will live in

perpetuity in Hansard. Thank you.

0:25:440:25:49

Better known woman of colour and

suffragette is a princess who is

0:25:490:25:55

rightly celebrated, although she was

born after the original suffrage

0:25:550:25:59

petition, and she campaigned for the

women nationally and locally and has

0:25:590:26:03

been the subject of a BBC

documentary and a Royal Mail stamped

0:26:030:26:07

and I treasure the photo of me with

a poster sized version of that

0:26:070:26:11

stamp, a small one would not be very

good, would it? I treasure that

0:26:110:26:18

photograph. For the vast majority of

black, Asian and minority ethnic

0:26:180:26:26

women, their part in the suffrage

movement has been lost. The hidden

0:26:260:26:29

history that might never be told. I

am proud of the opposition's 50-50

0:26:290:26:38

Shadow Cabinet and I am truly proud

that 45% of Labour MPs are women,

0:26:380:26:43

one more heave and we will have

parity, all we need, maybe, is a

0:26:430:26:50

general election in the next couple

of months. It is also notable that

0:26:500:26:56

across the House there is a record

high of women in thes, 32%. We

0:26:560:27:03

welcome women and people are from

all parties in this place -- record

0:27:030:27:08

high of women MPs. If we could,

Madam Deputy Speaker, I would say we

0:27:080:27:19

should give ourselves a round of

applause, but not too loudly, we

0:27:190:27:23

still have persistent problems that

will not go away unless we take a

0:27:230:27:26

radical approach. We should applaud

the Conservatives for electing a

0:27:260:27:33

woman leader... Twice, the member

says. While noting that for eight

0:27:330:27:41

years, she has sat around a Cabinet

table that sanctioned £80 billion of

0:27:410:27:46

tax and benefit changes with more

than 86% of cuts falling on the

0:27:460:27:51

shoulders of women. So, I say, a

round of applause, but not too

0:27:510:27:57

loudly. Let me offer a cautionary

tale... I give way.

I am very

0:27:570:28:04

grateful. Can I congratulate her on

her speech so far and away she is

0:28:040:28:10

reflecting International Women's

Day? Would she join with me in

0:28:100:28:16

recognising that the 66 years we

have had a female head of state and

0:28:160:28:19

sent congratulations to Her Majesty

the Queen who has presided so well

0:28:190:28:25

over this country through smooth

times and rough times?

I thank the

0:28:250:28:31

honourable member for that

intervention and absolutely I will

0:28:310:28:34

congratulate the Queen for the

dignity and poise she has held her

0:28:340:28:38

position with over the years and I

do hope that we might see the new

0:28:380:28:43

generation coming in and taking that

place in the future. So, and long

0:28:430:28:52

may she reigned, absolutely. We do

not want to see the end, but I

0:28:520:29:00

understand she is scaling back her

duties, to make way for the next

0:29:000:29:04

generation. I am in no way

advocating her demise so quickly.

0:29:040:29:08

LAUGHTER

Let me offer a cautionary tale,

0:29:080:29:14

Madam Deputy Speaker. From 100 years

ago, just as women were getting the

0:29:140:29:21

vote, male misogyny struck a blow at

women's sport. Teams of women were

0:29:210:29:31

playing football, women's football,

in front of large crowds and they

0:29:310:29:34

were making big money. But the

football Association, they banned

0:29:340:29:39

women from their grounds. The FA

said, I quote, the game of football,

0:29:390:29:47

probably said it a bit more like

this... The game of football is

0:29:470:29:51

quite unsuitable for females and

ought not to be encouraged. At a

0:29:510:29:57

stroke, DFA destroyed women's

football at that time. -- DFA. If

0:29:570:30:02

Eniola Aluko is watching, she is

probably thinking, not much has

0:30:020:30:05

changed. But women football players

have been making up for lost time.

0:30:050:30:11

Sadly the England team lost narrowly

to the world champions, the US, last

0:30:110:30:16

night, but I wish them well on their

continued journey and I would like

0:30:160:30:20

to acknowledge the first

international women's football star

0:30:200:30:26

in the 1981 World Championship, the

winner of the Golden Boot and she

0:30:260:30:29

even appeared on a cereal box. I

will give way.

I just wanted to

0:30:290:30:38

highlight in the world of women's

football, the work Lewes football

0:30:380:30:48

club do, the first in the country to

give equal pay to the men and

0:30:480:30:52

women's teams.

Excellent news,

hopefully we will see that reflected

0:30:520:30:56

nationally as well, as we encourage

the game of women's football. I

0:30:560:31:02

would also like to note a

goalkeeper, the first black woman to

0:31:020:31:10

be elected in the US fall -- the US

hall of fame. As women, we know we

0:31:100:31:18

have to break down structural

barriers, but sometimes we forget

0:31:180:31:21

just how deep roots of the

structural barriers are, we have to

0:31:210:31:26

break down centuries-old traditions

to get into places like here, in

0:31:260:31:31

Parliament, that were designed to

keep us out. Today too many groups

0:31:310:31:37

still face discrimination and

disadvantage. We must look forward

0:31:370:31:43

and tackled the structural barriers

facing all women and those with

0:31:430:31:48

protected characteristics so we can

achieve true equality for all. The

0:31:480:31:53

official theme of International

Women's Day is pressed for progress.

0:31:530:31:56

I want to set up Labour's priorities

and what they are, where we need

0:31:560:32:01

change at his most pressing there is

a long list including tackling

0:32:010:32:07

violence against women and girls,

domestic violence and abuse in the

0:32:070:32:11

workplace, and of course, tackling

the enduring gender pay gap. In the

0:32:110:32:16

UK, I am proud of the role Labour

has played in ensuring progress by

0:32:160:32:22

breaking down structural barriers

that have long held women back.

0:32:220:32:25

Labour brought in the Equal Pay Act,

the six discrimination act, the

0:32:250:32:30

Equality Act, the minimum wage and

introduced sure start -- sex

0:32:300:32:36

discrimination act. They doubled

maternity pay. Now Mr Speaker, Madam

0:32:360:32:43

Deputy Speaker, Labour believe we

will only make a real difference in

0:32:430:32:46

closing the gender pay gap with a

combination of sticks and carrots,

0:32:460:32:52

we will mandate companies with over

255 employees to produce action

0:32:520:32:56

plans to close the gender pay gap,

companies will be accredited due to

0:32:560:33:01

their progress and issued with

certification, only companies with

0:33:010:33:05

certification would be able to bid

for lucrative government contracts.

0:33:050:33:09

A win- win situation. The right

thing to do. The workforce would be

0:33:090:33:14

loyal, make more profit, as the

Secretary of State mentioned

0:33:140:33:19

earlier, and they will be rewarded

for good practice. And we will

0:33:190:33:24

benefit as a country. According to a

study by Price water Cooper, the

0:33:240:33:27

gender of the -- the closure of the

gender pay gap would give a boost to

0:33:270:33:33

the UK, globally to boost would be

trillions of dollars. In the

0:33:330:33:38

developing world, it is widely

recognised that empowering women is

0:33:380:33:42

an important step in driving

economic growth. It should be part

0:33:420:33:45

of our sustainable development

goals. Between 2015 and 2016, the UK

0:33:450:33:51

fell from 14th to 15th place in a

ranking of 33 OECD countries based

0:33:510:33:57

on five key indicators of female

economic empowerment. Madam Deputy

0:33:570:34:03

Speaker, our country deserves

better. Our country needs a Labour

0:34:030:34:05

government and our policies to put

people in progress at the heart. I

0:34:050:34:09

give way.

Incredibly generous with

her time. I hear with interest the

0:34:090:34:17

proposals the Labour Party have on

the table and I'm wondering, does

0:34:170:34:22

she see a time there will be a

female leader of the Labour Party

0:34:220:34:26

and if not, why that has not

happened so far?

I thank the member

0:34:260:34:33

for her intervention. This policy,

whether introduced by a male or

0:34:330:34:41

female is an important policy in

addressing the inequality of pay

0:34:410:34:46

towards women and ensuring this

gender pay gap is not just audited

0:34:460:34:50

but is closed. That is the important

factor. The near parity between

0:34:500:34:58

women and men in the Parliamentary

Labour Party has not come about by

0:34:580:35:01

chance. The introduction of all

women short lists has promoted a

0:35:010:35:07

change of culture. When the election

was called at short notice and we

0:35:070:35:10

had no time for all women short

lists, we still selected and elected

0:35:100:35:15

more women than any other party. The

test of any party is whether you are

0:35:150:35:23

helping or hindering. I am afraid

many of the current government

0:35:230:35:26

policies failed that test and the

Labour Party is determined that we

0:35:260:35:30

will be a help, not a hindrance to

women. I have not got time to go

0:35:300:35:36

into all the elements of our key

policy strands but it is an acronym,

0:35:360:35:41

a help. Access to justice, health

and well-being, economic equality,

0:35:410:35:49

leadership and representation and

protections for women. With this, we

0:35:490:35:53

will see real transformation. Women

make up 51% of the population and

0:35:530:36:02

without that 51%, the other 49%

would not be here. Let this be the

0:36:020:36:08

year that change happens. I will not

wait another 110 years for real

0:36:080:36:14

equality.

Thank you. This is the

first time in many years that the

0:36:140:36:27

International Women's Day debate has

been held on government time and I

0:36:270:36:30

would like to thank those on the

front bench who make that happen and

0:36:300:36:34

we know who they are, and I hope

that this is a trend for things to

0:36:340:36:38

come in the future as well. It is a

very special day indeed today,

0:36:380:36:47

International Women's Day in the

year that we celebrate 100 years

0:36:470:36:50

since women first won the right to

vote, but also first won the right

0:36:500:36:55

to stand for election to this place.

It has also been for a long time a

0:36:550:37:01

day of celebration in my household.

It is also my youngest son's

0:37:010:37:10

birthday today, and other members on

the front bench have children also

0:37:100:37:14

born on International Women's Day. I

think this is really a day when men

0:37:140:37:18

and women can come together and

should come together to celebrate,

0:37:180:37:22

whether for their children or other

reasons.

0:37:220:37:28

A quality affect us all.

Persistent

inequalities disadvantages as all.

0:37:280:37:38

-- us all. The work of the committee

is to look at all strands of

0:37:380:37:43

equality but we have a particular

interest in women's equality but we

0:37:430:37:46

are not frightened to look at the

issues that face men, too, and the

0:37:460:37:53

latest inquiry we have been doing is

into dads in the workplace. I thank

0:37:530:37:59

all of my honourable friends who are

here today, for Gower and Birmingham

0:37:590:38:04

Yardley and others who sit on the

committee, to their work into the

0:38:040:38:10

inquiry and just to say that we will

be publishing the final report on

0:38:100:38:15

that in the next two weeks. I think

that the Government has, in the

0:38:150:38:22

outline from the Home Secretary

today, Sean and their huge

0:38:220:38:25

commitment to gender equality in

this country but also abroad and I

0:38:250:38:31

think the announcement today shows

that the tough new laws on domestic

0:38:310:38:36

abuse that are being proposed

indicate that that commitment is

0:38:360:38:41

showing no sign of diminishing. But

the record of the Government I think

0:38:410:38:47

does need to be put on record

because it is so striking, the

0:38:470:38:52

criminalisation of forced marriage,

new stalking laws, the roll-out of

0:38:520:38:59

violence protection orders, new

offences on domestic abuse relating

0:38:590:39:01

to control, shared parentage, equal

marriage, making revenge pornography

0:39:010:39:07

a crying, making sex and

relationship education compulsory

0:39:070:39:11

for children, all of these things

sure that this is a Government that

0:39:110:39:19

understands the very white nature of

the policies that they need to put

0:39:190:39:22

in place to address equality issues

for women -- the very white nature

0:39:220:39:32

-- wide nature. The role of the

equality select committee that a

0:39:320:39:37

chair is that we continue to hold

the Government's feed to the fire on

0:39:370:39:41

not just existing legislative work

but also that for the future -- feet

0:39:410:39:46

to the fire, and I wanted to areas

of work we have done on the

0:39:460:39:53

committee that I think require

further work in future. Maternity

0:39:530:39:57

discrimination is something which

still blights this country. Despite

0:39:570:40:00

some of the strongest laws to outlaw

maternity discrimination, it

0:40:000:40:09

continues to blight the lives of too

many women. The use of nondisclosure

0:40:090:40:15

agreements in agreements put forward

to encourage women to leave the

0:40:150:40:18

workplace means that it is difficult

for us to see the skill of the

0:40:180:40:22

problem at its fullest and that's

why in the work of the committee, we

0:40:220:40:29

will be looking carefully at how we

should reform nondisclosure

0:40:290:40:33

agreements, not just on issues of

sexual harassment but issues like

0:40:330:40:38

maternity discrimination. Another

area which I am sure the select

0:40:380:40:41

committee will want to continue to

scrutinise is the role of women. We

0:40:410:40:47

did a very important report shortly

before the last general election is

0:40:470:40:52

calling for the implementation of

aspects of the equality act to make

0:40:520:40:56

it transparent how many women are

standing for election in various

0:40:560:41:01

points of the Parliamentary

calendar. It was disappointing that

0:41:010:41:03

the Government didn't agree to go

forward with that part of the

0:41:030:41:10

equality act, which would require

all political parties to be

0:41:100:41:14

transparent about their data and

gender specific candidates and I

0:41:140:41:18

hope I can encourage those sitting

on the front bench today to continue

0:41:180:41:22

to look at how we may be able to use

that existing legislation to throw

0:41:220:41:26

transparency onto this issue because

as our previous leader David Cameron

0:41:260:41:31

said, sunlight is the best

disinfectant and I think that is

0:41:310:41:36

still the same today, particularly

when it comes to the work of parties

0:41:360:41:39

and the selection of the candidates

and well stunned the Labour benches

0:41:390:41:42

they may have more women sitting

than we do on these benches, I'm

0:41:420:41:49

sure they would agree with us that

it is the selection procedure that

0:41:490:41:54

can really stand in the way of women

coming into this place. We need to

0:41:540:41:58

make sure there is transparency with

regards to the data.

Pharisee to my

0:41:580:42:06

honourable friend that I praise the

work she does -- can I say to my

0:42:060:42:12

honourable friend. Both parties have

something to contribute. Would she

0:42:120:42:20

agree with me that we must put

forward a very positive view of

0:42:200:42:24

women's role in this House because

the most important thing is to

0:42:240:42:29

encourage young women to look at

this as a potential career and if we

0:42:290:42:33

are always complaining and pointing

out the downside of this job, that

0:42:330:42:36

is not going to be encouraging so

can I encourage the select committee

0:42:360:42:42

to look at positives so that young

women know that this could be a job

0:42:420:42:45

for them and is one of the most

fantastic jobs we could ever

0:42:450:42:52

possibly do?

My honourable friend

makes an excellent point and I would

0:42:520:42:56

say for her at the best thing we're

doing at the moment to encourage

0:42:560:42:59

young women to be interested in

politics is having a female Prime

0:42:590:43:03

Minister. Certainly for me, when I

saw Margaret Thatcher become Prime

0:43:030:43:07

Minister and leader of the party and

leader of the country, it may

0:43:070:43:13

politics relevant for me, it turned

politics from being old men in grey

0:43:130:43:16

raincoats into something which was a

Technicolor, relevant issue for me

0:43:160:43:21

to be involved in as a 14-year-old

girl living in South Wales where

0:43:210:43:25

they weren't too many Tories around.

I could see an amazing role model on

0:43:250:43:34

the television, not only being a

fantastic female politician, but

0:43:340:43:39

also turning our country round from

what was a crisis of the '70s.

I

0:43:390:43:52

thank the Honourable Lady forgiving

way as they wanted to share a

0:43:520:43:54

slightly different story and ask if

she will agree with me on the value

0:43:540:44:00

of teachers and the role they play

in encouraging young girls coming

0:44:000:44:04

forward. The story I haven't

orphaned shared -- a story I haven't

0:44:040:44:11

often shared is we got home at

school one day and we were asked to

0:44:110:44:15

work ourselves up about something

and I managed to work myself up

0:44:150:44:19

about Margaret Thatcher. The rest is

history but I want to acknowledge

0:44:190:44:24

the work done by teachers in schools

in my constituency, where they will

0:44:240:44:31

be holding International Women's Day

events today and tomorrow and the

0:44:310:44:34

impact that has on bringing the

feeling of being involved in

0:44:340:44:38

political debate and the importance

of those initiatives.

The honourable

0:44:380:44:45

lady is absolutely right, it is

inspiring people to get involved in

0:44:450:44:50

politics which is such an important

part of our job as well. I want to

0:44:500:44:56

talk about inspiring women at this

point. I might have been the first

0:44:560:45:01

women to be elected to Parliament in

north Hampshire but I am now joined

0:45:010:45:06

by five other female Conservative

Members of Parliament in Hampshire

0:45:060:45:09

including my honourable friend the

member for Eastleigh on the front

0:45:090:45:14

bench today. Where one women trends,

other will follow -- where one woman

0:45:140:45:25

treads. I am pleased to have 60% of

my borough councillors as female. I

0:45:250:45:36

think it is important that we

recognise that as Members of

0:45:360:45:40

Parliament, we can inspire others to

become involved in politics through

0:45:400:45:44

the work that we do.

I thank my

honourable friend forgiving way. On

0:45:440:45:48

the point of inspiring women, does

she agree with me that as Members of

0:45:480:45:53

Parliament, we get into our schools

and speak to young women and show

0:45:530:45:56

them that being an MP is the kind of

job they should be aspiring to, as

0:45:560:46:01

well as being the leader of a

company. As a male MP with two

0:46:010:46:06

female bosses, I know that women are

as good at the job if not better.

0:46:060:46:17

Old-fashioned people might say a

woman's place is in the House, but

0:46:170:46:22

it could also be on the front bench.

Years absolutely right that we need

0:46:220:46:30

to make sure we recognise the

importance of encouraging more young

0:46:300:46:38

women into politics.

I thank the

honourable member forgiving way. It

0:46:380:46:42

was on a very similar point. It is

important we take responsibility for

0:46:420:46:50

inspiring young women but we should

also remember that many of us were

0:46:500:46:58

inspired by our mothers and their

mothers. My grandmother didn't have

0:46:580:47:02

the right to vote and I were her

wedding ring to this chamber every

0:47:020:47:05

day and it serves as a reminder for

the older generations past.

The

0:47:050:47:10

honourable lady makes such a

poignant point in the debate and

0:47:100:47:15

ensure we will reflect on the roles

of women in our own families in

0:47:150:47:18

terms of getting us here today.

There are also other women in our

0:47:180:47:23

communities who we need to

celebrate. We are incredibly

0:47:230:47:26

privileged in Hampshire to be one of

only four Chief constables in the

0:47:260:47:32

country who is doing an incredible

job of running one of the largest

0:47:320:47:36

police forces in the country. My

local executive in the hospital and

0:47:360:47:43

Basingstoke Alex Whitfield who

succeeded another female executive

0:47:430:47:46

to make sure we have some of the

best health services in the area.

0:47:460:47:51

The honourable member is right to

point out the need to have more

0:47:510:47:58

women in senior policing positions

and the need to encourage more women

0:47:580:48:00

police officers to rise up through

the ranks, but would she also join

0:48:000:48:04

with me in paying tribute to the

women met Commissioner, the woman

0:48:040:48:10

head of the National police chief

council and the woman head of the

0:48:100:48:16

National crime agency, Cressida Dick

and Sarah Thornton in top positions

0:48:160:48:24

is a huge tribute to them and the

work they have done to rise to the

0:48:240:48:27

profession.

Coupled with a female

Home Secretary, they make a

0:48:270:48:33

formidable team! Canales appointed

the role of women in business? I

0:48:330:48:36

represent one of the top ten centres

of business in the South East and it

0:48:360:48:42

is women running small businesses I

find inspiring. A woman in my

0:48:420:48:49

constituency runs a business to

support other businesses. When I

0:48:490:48:54

look at local charities, it is not

just women running existing

0:48:540:48:57

charities, people like Evelyn

Vincent, a founder member of Headway

0:48:570:49:04

Basingstoke, but women setting up

new charities like Charlie Porter

0:49:040:49:08

who set up a charity to support

disabled children. People like me is

0:49:080:49:19

one in my constituency, who is the

artistic director of my local

0:49:190:49:23

theatre company and it doesn't stop

there -- Mary Swann. If it wasn't

0:49:230:49:30

without women, I don't know what the

Church of England would be doing

0:49:300:49:36

because women keep our church is

running. We were talking about

0:49:360:49:39

football teams. Basingstoke town

playing in the FA Premier League

0:49:390:49:47

women's division and I am proud of

the fact they are doing extremely

0:49:470:49:51

well, in fact, better than the men's

team.

In my own constituency, I'm

0:49:510:49:58

going to see Sally Preston tomorrow

who runs a company that she started

0:49:580:50:04

from scratch and is producing

fantastically healthy children's

0:50:040:50:07

food and is now a multi-million

pound business, internationally.

By

0:50:070:50:13

recognising women who are doing

things in other roles and other

0:50:130:50:16

walks of life, then we can also help

to make sure that young women in our

0:50:160:50:23

schools can be realised that the

only thing that limits them in this

0:50:230:50:25

world is that imagination and the

support that they get from families

0:50:250:50:32

and schools to realise their

ambitions. Madam Deputy Speaker, in

0:50:320:50:37

talking about women in my

constituency, I could not feel to

0:50:370:50:40

refer to the most famous daughter of

Basingstoke -- I could not fail.

0:50:400:50:46

Jane Austen. Until recently, almost

nobody knew that she was born and

0:50:460:50:50

bred in our borough, the most famous

novelist in the world and we had

0:50:500:50:55

failed to recognise her. I don't

know whether that was because she

0:50:550:50:58

was a woman or that people didn't

wait reading her books. I love them,

0:50:580:51:02

some people don't, it's an acquired

taste. I was immensely proud at that

0:51:020:51:11

time we celebrated 200 years of her

death that we could be part of a

0:51:110:51:15

programme to make sure she was

better remembered which led to the

0:51:150:51:21

first of sculptural Jane Austen

being put in place in the centre of

0:51:210:51:23

my town -- sculpture of Jane Austen.

I would like to thank Adam, the

0:51:230:51:31

sculptor, but also Amanda, who made

the project possible because I want

0:51:310:51:36

to celebrate women now but also the

women who have made my town a great

0:51:360:51:39

place to live. Women in Basingstoke

are no different to other women in

0:51:390:51:44

the country, they have prodigious

talent so why are we still in a

0:51:440:51:47

situation where women are paid less

than men? In my constituency, 25%

0:51:470:51:52

less than men. We are in the bottom

4% of the UK. Despite the fact there

0:51:520:51:58

is no difference in levels of

education of men and women in my

0:51:580:52:02

constituency, women are being paid

consistently 25% less than men

0:52:020:52:06

because they can't find the sort of

jobs that they need to use their

0:52:060:52:12

experience and talent. Organisations

are working hard to try and reverse

0:52:120:52:17

this worrying trend where we are not

using the skills of our people in

0:52:170:52:21

the way that we should all stop our

local Borough Council has focused on

0:52:210:52:26

this and now has a positive gender

pay gap of 2.1% -- 2.16%. Local

0:52:260:52:35

employers have programmes to

increase female apprentices and have

0:52:350:52:39

targets to increase female

management. Jujitsu have a programme

0:52:390:52:43

to attract female apprentices, so

companies are waking up and

0:52:430:52:48

recognising that they are not using

female talent in the way they should

0:52:480:52:51

-- Fujitsu. I am supportive of the

work the Government is doing on

0:52:510:52:55

gender pay gap reporting because it

will provide a sort of transparency

0:52:550:52:59

that companies in my constituency

need to focus on this problem more

0:52:590:53:04

and with around 900 businesses and

Basingstoke that have more than 250

0:53:040:53:10

employees, that gender pay gap

reporting will be something I am

0:53:100:53:13

going to be looking at very closely

to ensure that we capitalise on the

0:53:130:53:17

skills and talents of women because

of the moment, that is a loss to the

0:53:170:53:21

economy.

0:53:210:53:25

I would like ministers to reflect on

the issue of flexibility working and

0:53:250:53:30

its availability. I was very pleased

to see the Prime Minister

0:53:300:53:34

particularly point out the need for

flexible working to be available

0:53:340:53:38

right at the start of someone's time

in employment because at the moment

0:53:380:53:44

research has shown that just 6% of

job vacancies pay the annualised

0:53:440:53:51

equivalent of £20,000 a year or more

leaving many women with no option

0:53:510:53:56

other than to take on low-paid,

often poorly paid jobs, with little

0:53:560:54:06

progression, if they need to have

the sort of flexibility that many do

0:54:060:54:10

to balance work and family life. I

hope that the Prime Minister's

0:54:100:54:16

announcement of last year around

flexible working is just the start

0:54:160:54:20

of a much broader set of work to

Government is doing to make flexible

0:54:200:54:25

working a reality for everybody in

this country and to have that from

0:54:250:54:30

day one. Is this a turning point? I

have heard that mentioned earlier

0:54:300:54:35

on. Is it a landmark year? I'm sure

people around the First World War

0:54:350:54:42

and Second World War, in the 60s and

70s, when so much of the legislation

0:54:420:54:45

we enjoy today was put in place, I

am sure they also felt they were

0:54:450:54:49

landmark years. The reason why we

might better say this is going to be

0:54:490:54:55

a landmark year following all of the

revelations we have had regarding

0:54:550:54:57

sexual harassment in Hollywood and

Westminster, that is because we have

0:54:570:55:04

record numbers of women in work and

economic empowerment is such an

0:55:040:55:08

important part of cementing the

changed attitudes that we are all

0:55:080:55:13

looking for in the debate today. I

also hope that the establishment of

0:55:130:55:19

the Women and Equalities Select

Committee has helped keep equality

0:55:190:55:23

issues, particularly those relating

to women, at the top of the agenda.

0:55:230:55:27

I hope that has added to the

momentum for change. We started our

0:55:270:55:32

series of sexual harassment reports

in 2016 with sexual harassment to

0:55:320:55:38

schoolgirls and I was told at the

time that we were expecting children

0:55:380:55:43

to accept something that had been

outlawed in the workplace. How wrong

0:55:430:55:48

were we about that. Sexual

harassment is something that blight

0:55:480:55:52

the lives of 50% of women in this

country and we have to tackle it and

0:55:520:55:59

I am pleased the committee is doing

two reports on that at the moment,

0:55:590:56:03

sexual harassment in the public

realm and at work. There really is

0:56:030:56:07

more that unites us than divides us

when we come to issues of women and

0:56:070:56:12

I think that the women and men

sitting in this House today taking

0:56:120:56:19

part in this debate can make sure

that if we do work together we make

0:56:190:56:22

sure this turning point does create

the lasting change we want to see.

0:56:220:56:29

Thank you. It is a pleasure to

follow the right honourable member

0:56:290:56:35

for Basingstoke who is of course the

chair of the Women and Equalities

0:56:350:56:41

Select Committee I have had the

honour of serving on for almost

0:56:410:56:43

three years now. The first of its

kind. It is a great honour that

0:56:430:56:48

today we get the whole afternoon to

debate the subject of International

0:56:480:56:54

Women's Day, and it is also an

honour to follow the honourable

0:56:540:56:57

member putting on record there are

many women who are not recognised in

0:56:570:57:01

history and I am grateful that will

be corrected today. As we mark 100

0:57:010:57:06

years since winning first secured

the vote in this place on

0:57:060:57:11

International Women's Day, we have

an opportunity to put on record some

0:57:110:57:14

of the great successes and also to

not forget the reason why we still

0:57:140:57:17

have to have something such as

International Women's Day because we

0:57:170:57:21

have had to fight this long and we

still have a long way to go. Today,

0:57:210:57:25

as we mark the progress made by

women on the centenary of women's

0:57:250:57:31

suffrage, we must note this year's

theme is press for progress. In the

0:57:310:57:39

last 100 years, we have seen

incremental advances in women's

0:57:390:57:43

rights. In 1928, women were granted

universal suffrage, 1945, family

0:57:430:57:50

allowances act introduced Child

benefit, 1967, the abortion act was

0:57:500:57:55

enacted in the UK, however the

system not extended in Northern

0:57:550:57:58

Ireland. In 1975, the Sextus

Coronation act was introduced making

0:57:580:58:03

it illegal to discover later against

women and yet... -- the six

0:58:030:58:09

discrimination act. The provision of

FGM, it was made a crime. Statutory

0:58:090:58:18

maternity play was introduced. Rape

in marriage was made a crime in

0:58:180:58:24

1984. In 2014, shared parental leave

was introduced and it also marked

0:58:240:58:28

the passage of equal marriage.

Coercive control became a crime. In

0:58:280:58:35

2017, thanks to the former

honourable member, we witnessed the

0:58:350:58:40

ratification of the Istanbul

convention and I thank former and

0:58:400:58:43

present Home Secretary for their

work in that regard. This year, the

0:58:430:58:46

Government will introduce the bill

on domestic violence and abuse and

0:58:460:58:53

yet this year on average 40% of

women will report they have

0:58:530:58:58

experienced some form of sexual

harassment in the workplace. In

0:58:580:59:04

Scotland, 50,810 incidents of

domestic abuse were reported last

0:59:040:59:07

year. Rape and attempted rape

accounted for 17% of sexual crimes.

0:59:070:59:13

And 35% of women have experienced by

the physical or sexual, intimate,

0:59:130:59:19

partner violence or sexual violence

by a non-partner at some point. 200

0:59:190:59:26

million women and girls will have

undergone female genital Meech

0:59:260:59:32

elation and the majority of them

were cut before they were five. --

0:59:320:59:36

female genital mutilation. One in

five LGBT women have said they

0:59:360:59:44

experienced hate crime because of

that gender identity and one in four

0:59:440:59:53

have not reported it to the police.

While we recognise there is still a

0:59:530:59:56

long way to go, today is an

opportunity to celebrate that women

0:59:561:00:01

have achieved a great deal in the

last 100 years. I want to turn

1:00:011:00:05

around the rather bleak view I have

just presented and celebrate some of

1:00:051:00:09

what Sky News published recently as

1:00:091:00:13

Britain's most influential women,

mocking those who have made

1:00:131:00:16

achievements historically and those

of today. Suffragettes, of who we

1:00:161:00:20

owe a debt to, Emmeline Pankhurst,

Emily Davies, great writers such as

1:00:201:00:27

Virginia Woolf and Zadie Smith, and

women in the public eye who rightly

1:00:271:00:31

use their voice to advocate

political activism such as Annie

1:00:311:00:35

Lennox, Vivienne Westwood, MIA. And

it includes my own First Minister,

1:00:351:00:45

Nicola Sturgeon. And my colleague

and friend, the honourable member

1:00:451:00:48

for Paisley. She gave a brilliant

speech yesterday on misogyny and

1:00:481:00:53

need to be met by further online

abuse which kind of proves the point

1:00:531:00:58

exactly. I should also say she got

some support. But the point is well

1:00:581:01:05

made. While we recognise these

extraordinary women and acknowledge

1:01:051:01:11

the struggles they face in trying to

make the world a better place, it is

1:01:111:01:15

worth recognising the extraordinary

women who live otherwise

1:01:151:01:19

extraordinary lives -- the ordinary

women. I wish to pay tribute to some

1:01:191:01:24

of the truly inspiring women in my

own constituency, I want to pay

1:01:241:01:28

tribute to Carol Clark, Cristina

Albert, and others, passionate in

1:01:281:01:34

promoting fair trade in Hamilton. I

want to play due to Donna Bannerman

1:01:341:01:38

who established a cafe supporting

mental health and I also want to pay

1:01:381:01:44

tribute to every one of the members

of Women's Aid who do fantastic

1:01:441:01:55

work. I want to take this

opportunity to put on record as

1:01:551:01:59

always the plight of my own

constituents who continue to fight

1:01:591:02:05

for fair pension rights. They still

feel their voices are largely

1:02:051:02:09

unheard. The ring Swan, playing a

key role in keeping the traditions

1:02:091:02:17

of Lanark alive -- Lorraine Swan.

Sheena Campbell, chair of the

1:02:171:02:28

council who fights to make our

community a better place. And a

1:02:281:02:35

pioneering businesswoman who

recently was short listed for the

1:02:351:02:39

black beauty and fashion awards

2018. These women are all

1:02:391:02:42

exceptional and that is not with

outstanding women like Pauline

1:02:421:02:49

Sullivan and Margaret McAllister,

these women are administrators,

1:02:491:02:53

teachers and kitchen staff who have

worked hard on their entire adult

1:02:531:02:58

life supporting families, caring for

children and ageing parents while

1:02:581:03:01

fighting fair pension justice and

equality and fighting for equal pay.

1:03:011:03:05

They deserve their voices to be

heard just as much as every other

1:03:051:03:08

woman on that Sky list. The recent

times that movement against sexual

1:03:081:03:16

harassment and the scandal in this

place and the established patriarch

1:03:161:03:21

eat only serves to highlight that

women in all sectors experience

1:03:211:03:25

patriarch you, misogyny and bullying

in the know workplace everyday. But

1:03:251:03:29

not all of these women have a voice.

We have a long way to go and I think

1:03:291:03:34

there is an opportunity in this

place to really make a change so let

1:03:341:03:38

us see the next 100 years make a

real change. In closing the gender

1:03:381:03:43

pay gap, tackling maternity and

pregnancy discrimination,

1:03:431:03:47

encouraging more fathers to take

their share of parental leave, we

1:03:471:03:51

need to continue to tackle the

systemic inequalities in

1:03:511:03:54

institutions like this place and

lead by example to create the change

1:03:541:03:58

we want to see. Today launched a

petition calling on the Government

1:03:581:04:02

to scrap the 4% tax on claimants

child maintenance, for those who

1:04:021:04:07

have expressed domestic violence in

their relationship, they rely on

1:04:071:04:11

this vital service. Parents should

not be penalised for protecting

1:04:111:04:15

their families and the Government

should not seek to balance the books

1:04:151:04:18

on the most vulnerable. I am calling

once more in the Government to

1:04:181:04:21

please consider using this

opportunity was bringing forward the

1:04:211:04:27

domestic violence and abuse built to

address this inequity, it is not

1:04:271:04:29

fair to ask women to pay a tax for

the service that they ultimately

1:04:291:04:33

rely on and have no other choice. I

wanted to end with a quote from the

1:04:331:04:38

truly inspirational woman and that

is Maya Angelou, each time a woman

1:04:381:04:43

stands up for herself without

knowing it possibly, without

1:04:431:04:47

claiming it, she stands up for all

women. Let us make our voices heard

1:04:471:04:51

this afternoon, it is International

Women's Day, and all of those

1:04:511:04:54

women's voices deserve to be heard.

Thank you. It is a real privilege to

1:04:541:05:02

be able to contribute to what I

think is a hugely important debate

1:05:021:05:05

in Parliament today. I believe that

gender inequality represents the

1:05:051:05:11

biggest waste of talent occurring on

our planet right now. I think that

1:05:111:05:14

closing that gap is not only a moral

imperative, it is also an economic

1:05:141:05:21

imperative for us all as well. I

think the figures on gender

1:05:211:05:26

inequality are absolutely striking.

If you look at evidence produced by

1:05:261:05:34

McKinsey in 2015, they estimated

that gender inequality and achieving

1:05:341:05:39

gender parity across the global

economy is worth $28 trillion to

1:05:391:05:47

global GDP. Just to put that in

context, it is essentially the

1:05:471:05:50

economies of China and the US

combined. This is probably the

1:05:501:05:55

biggest economic lever that we could

see pulled to support jobs and

1:05:551:06:02

prosperity in our global economy

that is out there. I am really proud

1:06:021:06:06

of the work the UK has done

internationally I think following

1:06:061:06:10

the sustainable development goals

agreed back in 2015, for the first

1:06:101:06:15

time, really, in the world, we have

a list that is he to do list to

1:06:151:06:21

achieve gender equality and it is

not only a long list, it is

1:06:211:06:25

comprehensive, covering specifically

areas like FGM, health inequality,

1:06:251:06:32

it also is mainstream through the

whole of the sustainable development

1:06:321:06:37

goals which is vital to see real

change. When we look at the impact

1:06:371:06:42

gender equality can have on

countries around the world, it is

1:06:421:06:46

absolutely stark. The impact goes so

far as to be positive for not only

1:06:461:06:53

economic performance, but underlying

stability, outcomes in relation to

1:06:531:06:58

society more generally, gender

equality is a good, positive thing

1:06:581:07:04

that all countries should be

striving for, not because it is a

1:07:041:07:08

nice thing to do, but because it is

absolutely crucial for all of us.

1:07:081:07:13

Some of the most inspiring people I

met in my time I had an

1:07:131:07:18

international development were

amazing women fighting for women's

1:07:181:07:22

rights in places like Afghanistan,

fight here against child marriage in

1:07:221:07:25

places like Sam Beard, tackling

Ebola, nurses on the front line

1:07:251:07:33

giving their lives, frankly, to save

the people, they were absolutely

1:07:331:07:37

inspiring. I think achieving gender

equality is a shared responsibility,

1:07:371:07:44

but if it is a shared

responsibility, that means we have

1:07:441:07:48

to take a collective action. All of

us, not just as people, but in the

1:07:481:07:55

organisations and institutions we

are part of. I just briefly wanted

1:07:551:07:58

to talk about what I think that

collective action really means. I

1:07:581:08:05

think firstly it means working in

our communities, we cannot think of

1:08:051:08:10

amazing groups working in our

community is leading the way. Again

1:08:101:08:13

I would point to some of the young

people I have come across in my time

1:08:131:08:18

in politics, girls in who set up an

organisation which has not just

1:08:181:08:24

shaken up that city but has drawn

attention much more broadly across

1:08:241:08:29

our country to tackling FGM.

Wonderful work by long-standing

1:08:291:08:34

institutions like the girl guides,

fantastic charities in international

1:08:341:08:37

development like Restless

Development, I want to thank

1:08:371:08:46

teachers around our country in our

classrooms right now who are

1:08:461:08:50

inspiring and educating a brand-new

generation of girls and young women

1:08:501:08:56

to aim higher, to have higher

expectations, for themselves, but

1:08:561:09:00

also to have a sense of how they

need and should deserve to be

1:09:001:09:05

treated by others, what

relationships and stable

1:09:051:09:08

relationships actually look like. I

think the reforms we are bringing

1:09:081:09:11

through on relationships and such

sex education are longer than the

1:09:111:09:18

Duke and they are crucial to making

sure it is not just an issue of

1:09:181:09:22

women aiming high but men and boys

understand the role they can

1:09:221:09:26

positively play in helping to

deliver gender equality in our

1:09:261:09:31

country -- sex education are long

overdue. The work happening in the

1:09:311:09:37

classrooms and encouraging girls to

go into STEM industries is really

1:09:371:09:47

important if we want to crack the

statistics we talk about like the

1:09:471:09:50

gender pay gap.

1:09:501:09:54

That brings me onto the world of

business and how important it is to

1:09:541:09:58

see the continued change in the from

employers that have steadily -- that

1:09:581:10:05

has steadily began happening in our

country over recent years and

1:10:051:10:09

members have mentioned the gender

pay gap. The transparency that those

1:10:091:10:13

regulations, simple as they were,

have brought to pay gap meetings is

1:10:131:10:19

hugely powerful and I think we

should recognise we are at the

1:10:191:10:22

beginning of a journey. I know when

I was talking to many companies who

1:10:221:10:26

were looking at the reporting that

was a head of them -- ahead of them,

1:10:261:10:33

many wanted to make progress in

their companies in terms of

1:10:331:10:38

reporting statistics, purely simply

having them focused on numbers for

1:10:381:10:41

the first time told them what they

needed to know, which is that they

1:10:411:10:45

needed to make a change and I will

say to any company, there are

1:10:451:10:50

literally at about four weeks left,

three to four weeks for companies in

1:10:501:10:56

our country who are eligible to have

to make the gender pay gap reporting

1:10:561:11:00

submissions. My advice to them is

don't be late! People will spot who

1:11:001:11:06

is missing and if you're missing, he

will never be able to go back and

1:11:061:11:13

correct the fact that you had a year

to get your house in order, if you

1:11:131:11:17

had a year to make sure your

reporting was on time and you

1:11:171:11:23

failed. All employees and companies

need to understand that young people

1:11:231:11:28

growing up in the UK have different

expectations and attitudes in

1:11:281:11:32

relation to gender and culture and

diversity, and they expect those

1:11:321:11:39

attitudes and those values to be

also shown in the organisations that

1:11:391:11:44

they interact with on a daily basis

and in particular those

1:11:441:11:47

organisations that want to sell them

goods and services and I think the

1:11:471:11:52

sooner that in many respects

businesses understand that and see

1:11:521:11:55

the opportunities to respond to

that, the better for broader

1:11:551:12:04

society. My honourable friend for

Basingstoke mentioned the broader

1:12:041:12:07

workplace reforms that all

governments, but including this one,

1:12:071:12:12

have brought forward to make

flexible working a reality. If we're

1:12:121:12:16

really going to see that make a

difference, we to go beyond ANSI

1:12:161:12:22

attitudes -- ANSI attitudes change.

We also what happened at the

1:12:221:12:28

Presidents club dinner but I think

it is symptomatic that change is to

1:12:281:12:33

be led from the top -- we need to go

beyond and see attitudes change. All

1:12:331:12:41

employees need to -- all employers

need to show leadership and see that

1:12:411:12:47

driven through the senior management

teams and evidence not just through

1:12:471:12:50

their people but through their

processes and the systems and data

1:12:501:12:54

that they are collecting to ensure

that they are moving in the right

1:12:541:12:57

direction.

Would she on that point

welcome and give credit to northern

1:12:571:13:08

Power women who have this week been

winning awards for the great change

1:13:081:13:11

that they have been making in

driving forward as agents of change

1:13:111:13:20

to transform the organisation, so

they are role models and have been

1:13:201:13:23

winning awards this week in

Manchester for doing just that.

I

1:13:231:13:27

would very much like to welcome all

the work they're doing. I hope the

1:13:271:13:31

awards ceremony incredibly well. It

is down to all of us. It is a 1

1:13:311:13:38

million piece jigsaw at achieving

gender equality, it is millions of

1:13:381:13:41

people around our world and in our

country doing things that add up to

1:13:411:13:47

something big. Don't wait is my

advice to people who want to see

1:13:471:13:51

things change, get involved and be

part of the change yourself. Just

1:13:511:13:58

finishing on businesses, we know

that this is good for business so

1:13:581:14:02

when you look at the research,

companies that own the top quartile

1:14:021:14:07

for gender diversity on executive

teams were 21% more likely to

1:14:071:14:13

outperform on profitability. They

were 27% more likely to have

1:14:131:14:18

superior value creation. They are in

the top quartile for cultural and

1:14:181:14:24

ethnic diversity were 33% more

likely to have industry-leading

1:14:241:14:29

profitability and further, there is

a penalty for dropping out so in

1:14:291:14:34

other words, companies that are not

doing this are poorer performing.

1:14:341:14:40

It's not that companies that do it

better performing. The clearest deal

1:14:401:14:48

is that if you cared about your

business and growth, do it for the

1:14:481:14:52

economics. If you have for some

obscure reason have not bought into

1:14:521:14:56

why this is the right thing to do.

This applies to Parliament, to our

1:14:561:15:02

institution, all of the things that

we talk about about being good for

1:15:021:15:04

businesses and employers. I know

that everyone in this chamber feels

1:15:041:15:11

exactly as strongly as I do about

this and many colleagues of course

1:15:111:15:15

who aren't here. It is up to us to

continue to ask yourself the

1:15:151:15:21

difficult questions about how our

own parties need to change. I agree

1:15:211:15:25

with my honourable friend, the

member for Basingstoke. I think

1:15:251:15:30

transparency is absolutely crucial.

I think the Conservative Party

1:15:301:15:33

should leave no stone unturned to

continue to play a role and indeed

1:15:331:15:37

go for a stronger role in making

sure that we are one of those

1:15:371:15:41

parties in this House that is

helping to make sure we have a 50-50

1:15:411:15:47

Parliament and we should be out

there making sure we are working

1:15:471:15:51

with other parliamentarians on the

50-50 campaign of #askhertostand. It

1:15:511:16:01

is 100 years since some women got

the vote, and although we have made

1:16:011:16:04

lots of progress, it has not been

enough. Unless we work together,

1:16:041:16:09

there is a real danger that we both

flat line -- we will flat line on

1:16:091:16:15

about a third of us being women

parliamentarians and we need to go

1:16:151:16:18

above and beyond that. I would also

say that beyond all of my comments

1:16:181:16:24

today, for what it's worth, I think

we should never lose sight of the

1:16:241:16:27

culture and diversity element. There

are too many women growing up in our

1:16:271:16:41

country, BME women who face a double

challenge of making their way in our

1:16:411:16:44

country and none of us should be

prepared to accept that and I think

1:16:441:16:48

whenever we're talking about gender

inequality, we should explicitly be

1:16:481:16:53

clear that there are groups of women

in our country who face even greater

1:16:531:16:58

challenges, dare I say, than some of

the rest of us and fixing this for

1:16:581:17:02

every single woman is our challenge

and we should not stop until we have

1:17:021:17:08

achieved that. I will finalise by

saying that it is 100 years since we

1:17:081:17:13

got the vote in this country. The

suffragette movement actually began

1:17:131:17:19

back in the 1860s. I am so pleased

they didn't give up after 40 years.

1:17:191:17:24

If there is one thing we can all

take from this, is that this is

1:17:241:17:29

long-term, but it'll wanted to be

long-term. I won't change to happen

1:17:291:17:37

faster I don't want to be looking at

what we can achieve over the next

1:17:371:17:41

100 years, I want us to be looking

at what we can achieve in the

1:17:411:17:46

generation, in the next five years,

ten years, 15 years. We need to do

1:17:461:17:50

that because lives are ticking by

and I had attacked me too many girls

1:17:501:17:55

into many countries without

opportunity but with bags of talent

1:17:551:18:03

-- I had the chats to meet too many

girls -- I had the chance. It is a

1:18:031:18:11

deal of opportunity lost and a deal

talent wasted. -- day of

1:18:111:18:17

opportunity. I don't accept our

world needs to be like this. I don't

1:18:171:18:21

accept that our country needs to be

like this. We have made lots of

1:18:211:18:25

progress but we have to go further

and faster and I am really proud

1:18:251:18:29

that all of us can be a strong voice

for women not just in our country

1:18:291:18:32

but around the world to articulate

often the challenges that they face

1:18:321:18:37

when they have no way of talking

about them themselves. We now over

1:18:371:18:44

recent years that over the last

century, things can be different but

1:18:441:18:49

we also know that we have to choose

to make them different and I think

1:18:491:18:52

if nothing else today, this debate

is showing that as far as the UK

1:18:521:18:58

Parliament is concerned we are

making that choice for things to be

1:18:581:19:03

different and all I can say is that

I am going to be part of that change

1:19:031:19:07

and I am going to be part of the

effort to see the next 100 years

1:19:071:19:10

deliver much, much more than last

100 years. Thank you.

1:19:101:19:19

I write today to keep my promise

every year to remember the women

1:19:191:19:29

killed by domestic violence. I

ordered a search -- I hope this

1:19:291:19:42

research to researchers involved

with the femicide census. After

1:19:421:19:46

this, I will be told that I don't

care about men who died, which is

1:19:461:19:52

ridiculous. I am grateful that Karen

Smith ignores this and remains on

1:19:521:20:03

the side of the women who died, not

the forces who want to ignore it.

1:20:031:20:07

All of these stories are in the

public domain. The women are all

1:20:071:20:11

ages and were killed in violent

episodes at the hands of men.

1:20:111:20:15

Violence against women and girls is

an epidemic. If as many people die

1:20:151:20:20

every week at a sporting event or

because they had a specific job,

1:20:201:20:23

they would be national outcry. These

women deserve the same. We must all

1:20:231:20:30

do better to hear their stories and

to end the culture of male violence

1:20:301:20:33

that killed them. Their names are

Anne-Marie James, Sabrina Mullins,

1:20:331:20:40

Sheila Morgan, Tracy Wilkinson,

Cantwell Williams, Vicky Hull,

1:20:401:20:46

Hannah Blaydon, Caroline Hill,

Katrina ever may, Megan Bells,

1:20:461:20:54

Catalina Chile, Jane Sheikh, Tracy

Kerins, conceptus Leonard, Jenna

1:20:541:21:03

Leeming,

1:21:031:21:13

Alison Watt, sailor Geoffrey, Karen

Young, Jean Chapman, Janice

1:21:151:21:23

Griffiths, Joanne Rand, Ellen

Higginbotham, Julie Parkin, Molly

1:21:231:21:30

McLaren, the savage -- Vera Savage,

Vanessa James, Olivia Craig,

1:21:301:21:43

Elizabeth Jordan, Ricky Lander, Alec

Stewart, Leah Cohen, Hannah Collin,

1:21:431:21:56

Beryl Hammond, Jessica King, Tyler

Denton, Emma Kelty, Jean Hicks,

1:21:561:22:11

Linda Parker, Catherine Smith,

Leanne Mickey, Jane Sargent, Moira

1:22:111:22:25

Gilbertson, to Visa Wishart, and

O'Neill, Elizabeth Merriman, Gillian

1:22:251:22:35

Howell, Mary steel, Simone Grainger,

Michelle Anderson, Patricia

1:22:351:22:46

McIntosh, Lisa Chatterton, Susan

westward, Ella Parker, Janine

1:22:461:22:56

Bowater, Suzanne Brown, Rebecca

Dykes, Jodie Wilshire, Beverley

1:22:561:23:09

Bless, Gillian Grant, Pauline

Cockburn, Julie Fox, Melanie Clark,

1:23:091:23:23

Terry and Jones, Julie Clark, Amelia

Blake, Cassie Hayes, Claire Harris,

1:23:231:23:36

Cheryl Gabrielle Hooper, Danielle

Richardson, Jill Sadler, Lynn

1:23:361:23:46

McNally, Charlotte

1:23:461:23:51

Richardson, Jill Sadler, Lynn

McNally, Charlotte, Crystal who was

1:23:511:23:52

killed with her son who was 16 and

her baby daughter, Diane Gossett,

1:23:521:24:00

and since this list was sent to me

by Karen Smith, she takes me this

1:24:001:24:06

morning, to add three more women to

the list from over the weekend who

1:24:061:24:10

were Laura, Angela Rider and Fiona

Schofield. I also want to be the

1:24:101:24:18

names of women murdered at the hands

of terrorism in the UK in this last

1:24:181:24:23

year. It may seem to some that this

pattern of violence is different to

1:24:231:24:27

violence against women and girls.

However, we in this place must

1:24:271:24:32

recognise that the patterns of

violent behaviour and perpetration

1:24:321:24:35

of violence against women and girls

has been seen in the past history of

1:24:351:24:41

many of those who go on to commit

terrorist atrocities.

1:24:411:24:47

Their names are, Kirsty Bowden,

Sarah 's Eleanor, Georgina

1:24:471:24:56

Callander, Saffie Roussos, Kelly

Brewster, Olivia Campbell, Alison

1:24:561:25:03

Howe, Lisa Lees, Jane Taylor, Megan

Hurley, Nell Jones, Michelle Case,

1:25:031:25:15

Chloe Rutherford, Adie McLeod,

Courtney Boyle, Elaine McIver,

1:25:151:25:24

Andrea Christie. I want to finish my

remarks today by saying all of these

1:25:241:25:29

women mattered. So many people want

to use their political persuasion to

1:25:291:25:34

assume that perpetrators of this

violence look and think in a certain

1:25:341:25:39

way. I care about all women and I

want to pay tribute today to the all

1:25:391:25:44

women Count lobby taking place in

Parliament today to recognise the

1:25:441:25:52

advanced barriers to support and our

national sympathy... Go ahead.

I am

1:25:521:25:56

very grateful. Could I thank the

honourable lady on the half of the

1:25:561:26:02

House for the passion and experience

of which she speaks on domestic

1:26:021:26:07

violence and sadly in this case

murder itself? She spoke of Alison

1:26:071:26:10

Award, the constituents of mine

murdered. Alison's son was caught up

1:26:101:26:22

in the act as well, critically ill

in hospital. Life changing injuries.

1:26:221:26:28

The bitter irony was a senior

domestic abuse project worker, her

1:26:281:26:35

friend said she dedicated her life

and work to helping others.

1:26:351:26:38

Politicians like us are here today

and gone tomorrow. Everyone just

1:26:381:26:47

listed, we need to be more proactive

to try to end male entitlement and

1:26:471:26:50

violence.

I thank the honourable

gentleman for his remarks and I

1:26:501:26:57

thank him for coming here to listen

to the name of his constituents and

1:26:571:27:02

to recognise that just because you

are in the wise about domestic

1:27:021:27:12

violence, as his constituent was, it

does not protect you from male

1:27:121:27:15

violence. I have met women who on

the face of it, people would never

1:27:151:27:21

think would-be victims, and we want

to cast victim is as one way and it

1:27:211:27:28

is simply not the case. I want to

return to say that I think we need

1:27:281:27:32

in this place to recognise our

commitment to ending the barriers

1:27:321:27:37

faced by every woman in this country

and we must never forget that

1:27:371:27:43

includes refugee women who face

multiple disadvantage in our country

1:27:431:27:49

and often have suffered before they

arrive here and while they are here

1:27:491:27:55

multiple violence, both sexual and

domestic. Our test should always be,

1:27:551:28:04

did we do everything we could to

protect all women? For too many

1:28:041:28:10

women in this country, the answer to

this is still simply no. We must do

1:28:101:28:14

better.

Thank you, Madam Deputy

Speaker. A huge privilege to follow

1:28:141:28:24

on from the honourable member for

Birmingham Yardley who I served on

1:28:241:28:29

the select committee with and when

people say, do we really still need

1:28:291:28:33

an International Women's Day, her

speech sets out the reasons why we

1:28:331:28:37

still do. It is issue John to be

able to speak on International

1:28:371:28:41

Women's Day -- it is a huge honour.

And to sharing the achievements,

1:28:411:28:48

particularly in this anniversary

year of suffrage when 100 years ago

1:28:481:28:53

some women were first given the

vote. It is also an opportunity to

1:28:531:28:57

set out our ambitions for the next

ten years as we come to celebrate

1:28:571:29:02

the centenary when all women got the

vote and also set out our ambition

1:29:021:29:07

for the next 100 years so the women

sitting in this place then can look

1:29:071:29:11

back and can list out the

achievements that our generation

1:29:111:29:16

have done for women and I take on

the point of the right honourable

1:29:161:29:20

member for Putney that it is

important we get on with that, so

1:29:201:29:25

they have a long list of

achievements to read out in the

1:29:251:29:29

years to come. Because there is

still so much to do in this country

1:29:291:29:33

and we have heard many honourable

members and right honourable members

1:29:331:29:37

already set out the issues women in

this country still face around equal

1:29:371:29:42

pay, the gender pay gap, we just

heard, the list of names

1:29:421:29:47

experiencing death by domestic

violence, we have still got to get

1:29:471:29:52

that 50-50 representation here in

Parliament. And we so have the

1:29:521:29:56

ongoing issue of sexual harassment.

But there are women across the world

1:29:561:30:01

facing burning injustice is still.

There are women in this world who

1:30:011:30:06

are still living in absolute

poverty. There are women

1:30:061:30:09

experiencing on a daily basis rape

as a weapon of war. There are women

1:30:091:30:15

who still cannot access education,

even just to be able to learn to

1:30:151:30:19

read and write, and not just them,

but their families suffer as a

1:30:191:30:23

result. There are women who are

still being used as sex slaves,

1:30:231:30:28

being trafficked across the world.

There is the issue of female foetus

1:30:281:30:33

I'd went female babies are valued

less than male babies and dumped or

1:30:331:30:39

even murdered in some parts of the

world because men and male children

1:30:391:30:43

are valued so much higher -- female

infanticide. In this year of the

1:30:431:30:53

anniversary, to tackle one of the

issues of getting more women into

1:30:531:30:56

this place, Conservative Members of

Parliament have set up a series of

1:30:561:31:05

her stories highlighting our

personal history of how we got into

1:31:051:31:08

this place because in my new role,

one of the most common Tom Ince I

1:31:081:31:12

get, when I say, why don't you stand

for Parliament, local government

1:31:121:31:16

estimate -- one of the most common

comments I get when I say, why don't

1:31:161:31:23

you stand for Parliament, local

government? They think they do not

1:31:231:31:26

have what it takes. We have such

diverse backgrounds of people from

1:31:261:31:30

all parties in this place, people

who have done different jobs, come

1:31:301:31:33

from different backgrounds, class,

faith, we all have a right to be

1:31:331:31:40

here and by listening to the

individual personal stories of how

1:31:401:31:44

women got into this place, it will

hopefully encourage other women out

1:31:441:31:48

there to think, I could do that. I

say to women, if you are coming to

1:31:481:31:52

this place to be the third female

Prime Minister in this country,

1:31:521:31:57

you're probably coming here for the

wrong reason. If you are coming here

1:31:571:32:00

because you care passionately about

an issue and you will not stop until

1:32:001:32:04

you achieve that, you are exactly

the right person to come, no matter

1:32:041:32:09

what your background or experience.

I will give way.

Thank you for

1:32:091:32:15

giving me the opportunity to just

put on the record the extraordinary

1:32:151:32:19

work that my honourable friend does

and the experience she brought to

1:32:191:32:25

the Women and Equalities Select

Committee, having been an ex-nurse

1:32:251:32:28

and her experience she brings to

this House is an example to us all

1:32:281:32:35

and she is right to highlight the

experience of the stories to

1:32:351:32:39

encourage others to come here today.

I thank my right honourable friend

1:32:391:32:43

for those very kind comments. She is

an absolute inspiration herself to

1:32:431:32:47

women across this House for the work

she has done in being the first

1:32:471:32:54

chairman, chairwoman, of the select

committee, highlighting, pushing an

1:32:541:33:00

important issues for women. If I

reflect on my own story, my family

1:33:001:33:04

story, someone else mentioned about

their grandmother, 100 years ago, my

1:33:041:33:08

grandmother did not get the right to

vote, my family are an Irish

1:33:081:33:13

Catholic family and it was not until

1922 when women in southern Ireland

1:33:131:33:17

and men got the vote for the first

time. If I look at the Irish

1:33:171:33:23

Catholic community in Northern

Ireland, part of the UK, many

1:33:231:33:30

Catholic women up until 1968 could

not vote, and men, could not vote in

1:33:301:33:35

local elections, it was not until

the Amendment act of 1968 came into

1:33:351:33:40

place that there were women in this

country who still could not vote in

1:33:401:33:44

all local elections. That was mainly

because the Irish Catholic community

1:33:441:33:47

when either homeowners nor rate

payers and that disqualified them

1:33:471:33:52

from being able to vote. I welcome

our celebration of 100 years both

1:33:521:33:58

now and in ten years' time, but I

think it was a travesty there were

1:33:581:34:01

women in the UK who could not vote

simply because of the community that

1:34:011:34:07

they came from. I welcome the

change. If I look at the next

1:34:071:34:11

generation closest to me, my aunt

who came over from miner to work

1:34:111:34:17

here, she worked in this place, in

the dining rooms, she served

1:34:171:34:21

honourable members -- from Ireland.

She has many a tale to tell about

1:34:211:34:27

her time here and I am sure the

Deputy Speaker will be sure I --

1:34:271:34:36

will be pleased I will not reveal it

today. Winston Churchill, laden

1:34:361:34:40

state, she was able to pay tribute,

and I am honoured to be following in

1:34:401:34:47

her footsteps working in this place,

if in a different role. We all have

1:34:471:34:51

family stories we can tell that will

make a difference and we should be

1:34:511:34:55

loud and proud about our history.

But I am concerned that while we are

1:34:551:35:00

achieving equality for women, it is

not for all women, either in this

1:35:001:35:05

country or across the world, and it

is so important that when we fight

1:35:051:35:09

for equality for women that it is

for all women and those from the

1:35:091:35:13

most vulnerable communities often

need our help the most. I also am

1:35:131:35:18

slightly nervous that there is

discord in this country that some

1:35:181:35:22

women are more equal than others and

some have more of a right to speak

1:35:221:35:26

out on women's issues than others

and I think we are a broad church of

1:35:261:35:31

women in this place and within our

own political parties, there is a

1:35:311:35:35

broad church of women who come with

different experience, valleys,

1:35:351:35:38

issues that they want to campaign

on, and my message is, there is not

1:35:381:35:44

a right or wrong issue to campaign

on -- experience, values, issues. We

1:35:441:35:49

all have a right to express our

views and going forward I think it

1:35:491:35:53

is important that as a group of

sisters we respect each other's

1:35:531:35:58

views, debate them, maybe argue

against them, but respect the fact

1:35:581:36:01

we all have that right to raise

them. And on that point, I just want

1:36:011:36:06

to highlight who I take inspiration

from in the political scene. You

1:36:061:36:11

would expect that of course I would

have Margaret Thatcher as one of my

1:36:111:36:17

political heroines, someone who grew

up in a working-class area of south

1:36:171:36:21

London where there was little or no

hope of aspiration for working-class

1:36:211:36:26

kids like me, seeing a woman on the

TV who had a posh accent, often had

1:36:261:36:33

a string of pearls, carried a

handbag at all times, but told me

1:36:331:36:37

from the TV screen that it did not

matter where I came from, it was

1:36:371:36:40

what I wanted to do and how hard I

was prepared to work for it which

1:36:401:36:44

was going to make the difference.

And you would expect also that I

1:36:441:36:49

would have Florence Nightingale high

up on my heroine list as a nurse I

1:36:491:36:55

worked at St Thomas's and I did some

courses at the Florence Nightingale

1:36:551:37:00

School, Chi transformed not just

nursing but health care in this

1:37:001:37:04

country and you would expect I would

have Marie Curie high up on my list

1:37:041:37:07

of heroines. I in cancer care, she

put her life on the line to increase

1:37:071:37:14

scientific advances and to make a

difference to cancer treatments. But

1:37:141:37:20

my most respect goes to someone from

a very different political sphere

1:37:201:37:24

from me who sat on those benches

opposite but is my absolute

1:37:241:37:28

political heroine.

1:37:281:37:34

She is someone that has been

underrated underestimated in the

1:37:341:37:39

history of women in politics and

very often these days we talk about

1:37:391:37:42

Northern Ireland and the issues

around Brexit and a frictionless

1:37:421:37:45

border. We took about the lack of an

Executive and an Assembly. One we

1:37:451:37:54

talk about the Good Friday

Agreement, we talk about John Major

1:37:541:38:00

and Tony Blair, but we have

airbrushed the work of Mo Mowlam. If

1:38:001:38:05

she was here, there will be is some

disagreement on certain issues. I

1:38:051:38:17

have utmost respect for Mo Mowlam at

a time when there was not a female

1:38:171:38:24

leader of the DUP or Sinn Fein. She

was in a room of men and had to

1:38:241:38:29

knock those heads together. She was

a straight talking woman, feisty and

1:38:291:38:34

funny and she got things done that

other people could not do, and she

1:38:341:38:39

was the first female Secretary of

State for Northern Ireland and I

1:38:391:38:42

think her efforts should be

recognised. I absolutely take on

1:38:421:38:46

board the advice from her -- the

advice that you should never meet

1:38:461:38:59

your heroes because you will be

disappointed. I got to meet her and

1:38:591:39:08

I heard her tour because I was

inspired by the what she was doing,

1:39:081:39:14

especially for the Irish Catholic

community in Ireland and all

1:39:141:39:18

communities, bringing them together.

Her talk was witty and funny and she

1:39:181:39:21

was everything I expected her to be.

I went up to ask her to sign her

1:39:211:39:30

autobiography for my other half who

was working abroad. She said I will

1:39:301:39:36

not sign it for him if he could not

make the effort to be here. I will

1:39:361:39:40

sign it for you. You need to keep up

the good work and progress in

1:39:401:39:50

becoming politically aware. We must

remember Mo Mowlam. She is a woman

1:39:501:39:56

you could do business with whatever

side of the political divide you

1:39:561:40:00

came from. This is an opportunity

and a time to recognise that

1:40:001:40:04

equality isn't about being the same.

You can have differences and strive

1:40:041:40:09

together for equality for all.

Calling someone less of a sister

1:40:091:40:13

because they are on a different side

of the argument does not move

1:40:131:40:18

forward our calls for getting

equality for all women. We have

1:40:181:40:21

fought so hard to get freedom for

all women. We fought to get freedom

1:40:211:40:26

of speech, freedom to vote, but we

have so much more to do, so is

1:40:261:40:31

celebrating our differences is what

we need to do. We need to embrace

1:40:311:40:35

them. One of my favourite sayings

from Mo Mowlam it is you are never

1:40:351:40:40

terrified when you say what you mean

and that is something I still aspire

1:40:401:40:44

to. With that in mind, let's

remember the women that made this

1:40:441:40:48

country great and let us work

together to tackle the issues that

1:40:481:40:51

still exist.

I am very proud to be

sitting on these famous green

1:40:511:41:04

benches on International Women's Day

with other women around representing

1:41:041:41:08

constituencies from all four corners

of the United Kingdom. Since 1918

1:41:081:41:14

representation of the people's act

and the parliament collocation of

1:41:141:41:20

women's act, significant advances

have been made in making Parliament

1:41:201:41:25

more accurately represent the

country it serves. Since these acts

1:41:251:41:30

489 women have been elected as

members of this house. Milestone

1:41:301:41:35

which must've seemed so distant to

women like Mary Smith who delivered

1:41:351:41:40

the first women's suffrage petition

to Parliament in 1832. Currently

1:41:401:41:47

there are 208 female MPs and I

myself am honoured to be the first

1:41:471:41:53

female MP for the seat I represent

in Coventry North East. Great

1:41:531:41:59

changes alongside this act,

including the industrial revolution

1:41:591:42:02

in both world wars, challenged the

notion that a woman's was solely

1:42:021:42:11

domestic and opened up opportunities

for women. Despite this progress the

1:42:111:42:15

battle is far from won. Yes, once

it's fantastic that we currently

1:42:151:42:20

have 208 female MPs in this house,

this only equates to 32%. At the

1:42:201:42:26

last general election there were

only an additional 12 women elected.

1:42:261:42:30

At the current rate it will take 50

years to achieve gender equality in

1:42:301:42:35

Parliament. 100 years after some

women won the right to vote and some

1:42:351:42:41

were afforded the opportunity to

stand for election as an MP, the

1:42:411:42:45

fight for political equality must

continue. I am proud to come from a

1:42:451:42:49

party which has such an impressive

record in shoving to achieve this.

1:42:491:42:53

Labour has more female MPs in all

other parties put together and is

1:42:531:42:57

the only party to advocate the use

of all women short lists to address

1:42:571:43:03

the inequalities still present

within the current system. I have

1:43:031:43:06

seen many, many changes from when I

first started work in a job where I

1:43:061:43:12

myself did not get equal pay. I was

happy to see the introduction of the

1:43:121:43:17

Equal Pay Act and the work and

families act, extending the right to

1:43:171:43:24

statutory maternity leave to a full

year. When I have my children I was

1:43:241:43:30

back at work after six weeks and 12

weeks respectively. I needed the

1:43:301:43:34

money and I needed to keep my job.

As we have heard from previous

1:43:341:43:41

contributions today, there have been

many other advances in the calls for

1:43:411:43:48

women's equality, but more needs to

be done, especially maternity rights

1:43:481:43:53

and the gender pay gap. In Coventry,

a recent survey found that less than

1:43:531:44:00

20% of female respondents felt they

are treated equally to men. A

1:44:001:44:04

further 42% believe they have

experienced gender discrimination in

1:44:041:44:10

the workplace and every 60% felt

that women are under pressure to

1:44:101:44:14

look good at all times. It is clear

that significant advances have been

1:44:141:44:19

made since the representation of the

people and the Parliament

1:44:191:44:24

qualification acts, but the results

of this survey are alarming and

1:44:241:44:28

reminders of how far we still have

to go. Women are still paid less

1:44:281:44:33

than men in many fields and gender

stereotypes surrounding certain

1:44:331:44:38

degree subjects and industries still

exist. Women are still objectified

1:44:381:44:41

in the media and for many, politics

remains a man's world with many

1:44:411:44:48

women feeling this glass ceiling

will never ever shatter. We have

1:44:481:44:53

come so far, but the fight for

gender equality is not over and

1:44:531:44:58

woodcuts, especially to tax credits,

NHS, social care budgets, it's off

1:44:581:45:04

Dean women that are hit hardest.

Before I conclude, Madam Deputy

1:45:041:45:10

Speaker, of especial day-to-day I

would like to pay tribute to a great

1:45:101:45:16

strong and formidable woman who was

elected and swept to power on the

1:45:161:45:21

3rd of May 19 79. She was to inspire

a young woman who watched her every

1:45:211:45:27

move. A young woman who because of

her inspiration and her very

1:45:271:45:32

presence would become the 414 the

woman ever to be elected to this

1:45:321:45:39

place. It's probably not the person

you are thinking. This great woman

1:45:391:45:44

lived in Coventry were in her

kitchen was a plaque that said, a

1:45:441:45:49

woman's 's is in her trade union.

Her name was Dorothy Dalton. She was

1:45:491:45:55

my mother, and was elected to

Coventry City Council on that very

1:45:551:46:01

night, and night when the Labour

Party swept to power in Coventry.

1:46:011:46:06

Great women inspire other women.

Women of influence give other women

1:46:061:46:14

confidence. So thinking about all

women around the world, I hope the

1:46:141:46:20

minister will join me in honouring

International Women's Day with a

1:46:201:46:24

reflection on what we have achieved

so far, but an acknowledgement that

1:46:241:46:29

more can and more must be done for

gender equality.

It is a great

1:46:291:46:39

delight to follow the order of the

-- to follow the Honourable lady

1:46:391:46:45

from Coventry North East. We may

disagree in the Chamber, but we have

1:46:451:46:52

had good discussions and we agreed

on other issues, so I thank her for

1:46:521:47:00

her words. I'm delighted to speak on

this important debate. Partly

1:47:001:47:07

because of the issue that so many

other honourable members have said

1:47:071:47:15

is important. Even in 2018 to many

women are not allowed to have a

1:47:151:47:20

voice. What are we celebrating? We

are celebrating 100 years since

1:47:201:47:32

women were allowed to vote. We are

also celebrating life peers. Also we

1:47:321:47:44

are celebrating women having

electoral equality with men and in

1:47:441:47:52

ten years' time we will have even

more celebrations. On the 14th of

1:47:521:48:01

December it will be 100 years since

the 1918 general election when women

1:48:011:48:06

over 30 and virtually all men over

21 finally could vote in a general

1:48:061:48:11

election for the very first time.

We've had female representation

1:48:111:48:23

since 1992. Angela Knight was

elected, followed by Liz Blackman

1:48:231:48:27

and in 2010 Jessica Lee, in 2015,

myself. That is 26 years of Tettey

1:48:271:48:41

two been represented by women. Women

fought for the seat because they

1:48:411:48:46

were the best, not just because they

were women. We want to make sure

1:48:461:48:51

that women do feel able to put

themselves forward for positions for

1:48:511:48:56

members of Parliament, the boards of

directors and whatever role they

1:48:561:48:59

want. I want to add to what else is

happening in ten two. Our current

1:48:591:49:07

mayor is counsel everyone Hopkinson.

No one can doubt the excellent

1:49:071:49:13

representation that Erewash has in

terms of female representation. In

1:49:131:49:20

previous debates in International

Women's Day I have highlighted a

1:49:201:49:25

great women in my constituency that

are active today. I've always

1:49:251:49:29

faithful I will miss someone out, so

today I want to recognise them in

1:49:291:49:33

general for all the work they do,

but I want to look back 100 years

1:49:331:49:37

because that's what we are really

celebrating. I want to extol the

1:49:371:49:42

virtues of another Erewash lady who

was alive a hundred years ago. That

1:49:421:49:47

is Dame Laura Knight. She was born

in 1877 and passed away in 1970. She

1:49:471:49:54

was a highly acclaimed artist. In

her long career she was the most

1:49:541:50:01

successful and popular female

painter in Britain. She was made a

1:50:011:50:08

Dame in 1929 and in 1936 became the

first woman elected to full

1:50:081:50:13

membership of the Royal Academy. The

Royal Academy was established in

1:50:131:50:18

1768. It took so long to get the

first woman to be a member of the

1:50:181:50:23

Royal Academy. During the First

World War Dame Laura was prohibited

1:50:231:50:27

from painting her the love it

coastal scenes in case that when

1:50:271:50:32

they were displayed, the artwork

might pose as a security risk. Her

1:50:321:50:39

husband Harold was a conscientious

objector in that war and was

1:50:391:50:42

required to work as a farm labourer

as a result of that. So really, they

1:50:421:50:47

were living through the time when

women were represented many men did

1:50:471:50:51

not have that either. What we get to

the Second World War Dame Laura was

1:50:511:50:57

asked to produce a recruitment

poster for the Women's Land Army.

1:50:571:51:04

She played an important role in

getting women involved in playing

1:51:041:51:07

their part. In the aftermath of the

war Dame Laura was famous for her

1:51:071:51:13

oil painting the Nuremberg trial

which was greatly praised by those

1:51:131:51:17

who witnessed the trials, but not by

those in the art world. Dame Laura

1:51:171:51:25

without realising bred many of the

rules and barriers put up by men.

1:51:251:51:27

I'm sure she has been a great role

model to many people since,

1:51:271:51:34

particularly in the art world.

Although this house pushes certain

1:51:341:51:46

subjects, I believe that barriers

and easily broken down, whatever

1:51:461:51:49

they are. Growing up I was an active

girl guides. I don't take this

1:51:491:51:54

opportunity to pay tribute to these

organisation -- to this organisation

1:51:541:52:02

and other youth organisations,

whether for girls or boys, for the

1:52:021:52:06

work that they are doing to make a

difference. Each year girl guides

1:52:061:52:13

put out an attitude survey. There

has been some disturbing data.

1:52:131:52:19

It shows 64% have experienced sexual

harassment in school in the past

1:52:191:52:26

year, sadly up by 5% since 2014. 55%

of girls aged seven to 21 say gender

1:52:261:52:36

stereotypes affect their ability to

say what they think. 30% save

1:52:361:52:40

computing is more for boys. 76% of

11-21-year-old feel confident in IT

1:52:401:52:50

skills but just 37% would consider a

job in technology, the huge mismatch

1:52:501:52:54

in that information and it is really

worrying. The survey shows we still

1:52:541:52:59

have much more to do and hopefully

debates such as today's play their

1:52:591:53:06

part in breaking down barriers and

letting girls know they can do

1:53:061:53:09

whatever they want. Whilst we all

want equality and all barriers to be

1:53:091:53:17

removed, it is important we have

choice. It is important we recognise

1:53:171:53:22

women who take the decision to

dedicate many of their years to

1:53:221:53:29

raising future generations and

ensure their contribution is

1:53:291:53:31

recognised. My mum, like mums of

other honourable members, she stayed

1:53:311:53:39

at home to bring up the family. I

want to finish by repeating sadly

1:53:391:53:43

she said to me when I was

approaching 18 and those words have

1:53:431:53:46

stayed in my mind every time we get

an election. It is more like an

1:53:461:53:53

instruction she gave to me, and

those words were, women died for us

1:53:531:53:57

to have the vote, always vote.

Thank

you. It is a pleasure to follow the

1:53:571:54:08

honourable member for Erewash and to

hear so many inspirational speeches

1:54:081:54:13

today across the House and in

particular, the speech made by my

1:54:131:54:19

honourable friend, the member for

Birmingham Yardley, in her moving

1:54:191:54:23

tribute to the victims of violence

in our country. It is fitting we

1:54:231:54:35

should mark International Women's

Day and the 100th anniversary of the

1:54:351:54:39

Representation of the People Act, my

constituency has had a proud history

1:54:391:54:47

of women being pioneers, fighting

for women and workers' rights, going

1:54:471:54:50

back to the strikes of 1888, two

establishing the East London

1:54:501:54:57

Federation of suffragettes led by

Sylvia Pankhurst, based in Bow with

1:54:571:55:08

branches over the East End. They

base their campaign in working

1:55:081:55:11

women's lives and fought for a

living wage, equal pay, decent

1:55:111:55:17

housing, food price controls,

adequate pensions. The suffragettes

1:55:171:55:21

saw the vote is just one aspect of

the struggle for equality and while

1:55:211:55:27

it was an important step towards

equality, it represented a partial

1:55:271:55:33

not complete victory, as others have

already pointed out. We owe a huge

1:55:331:55:38

amount to them for having the

opportunity to stand here today and

1:55:381:55:45

speak in this debate and make a

contribution to public life in our

1:55:451:55:49

country and internationally. But

while much progress has been made

1:55:491:55:54

since then, we have so much more to

do, as others have pointed out

1:55:541:55:59

already, whether it is women's

status, safety, writes, pay or

1:55:591:56:07

representation. Madam Deputy

Speaker, I am incredibly proud of

1:56:071:56:10

the fact I am one of three Muslim

women to have ever got elected in

1:56:101:56:18

2010 here in this parliament, along

with my honourable friend 's Yasmin

1:56:181:56:23

Qureshi and Siobhan -- I am proud

others have entered Parliament

1:56:231:56:35

across the House, but we have much

more to do to increase the number of

1:56:351:56:39

women and those from other

backgrounds into our Parliament. And

1:56:391:56:43

I want to pay tribute to the many

women here in our Parliament who

1:56:431:56:48

enabled us to get here, the women,

the pioneers who first arrived in

1:56:481:56:54

this Parliament. There are many but

I want to single out two in

1:56:541:56:58

particular. My Labour predecessor,

now a member of the House of Lords,

1:56:581:57:03

Oona King, the second black woman MP

to have ever got elected into this

1:57:031:57:08

house. And of course, the former

deputy leader of my party, our

1:57:081:57:15

party, The right honourable member

for Camberwell and Peckham who has

1:57:151:57:21

done so much for us and for our

country and who commands support

1:57:211:57:27

from across the House, from women

across the House. I certainly would

1:57:271:57:33

not be here if it was not for the

encouragement and support from her

1:57:331:57:36

and many other women in public life.

And I hope that we continue to build

1:57:361:57:41

on that, by ensuring that women have

the confidence, the encouragement,

1:57:411:57:47

the support, the networks, the

back-up to charge ahead, to go

1:57:471:57:53

forward and stand in positions in

public life. That is why I took the

1:57:531:58:00

step to set up a charity which has

the support of different parties,

1:58:001:58:06

cross-party support, called the

uprising leadership charity to

1:58:061:58:10

support women as well as men from

white working and minority ethnic

1:58:101:58:16

backgrounds, but particularly women,

to enter public life, in the

1:58:161:58:21

professions but also in politics,

working in different constituencies,

1:58:211:58:24

so that the next generation have the

support and do not have to struggle

1:58:241:58:29

the way previous generations have

done. Many will be aware of stories,

1:58:291:58:37

and I have stories of my own, of the

number of times I was told, you

1:58:371:58:43

can't do that, because people will

not support a woman, when I decided

1:58:431:58:50

to stand for Parliament. The

audacity to stand is still a

1:58:501:58:56

challenge for many women. Because

too often, they are told that they

1:58:561:59:03

cannot make it, they will not make

it, they will not have the support

1:59:031:59:08

of people in their community or the

support of men and it is when women

1:59:081:59:13

push forward and stand, as I did and

others did, that it shows that those

1:59:131:59:20

preconceptions and prejudices, they

are actually wrong. That is why we

1:59:201:59:25

must continue to encourage young

women today, despite all the abuses

1:59:251:59:32

online and much else, despite what

we have seen in the past year of

1:59:321:59:35

stories of abuse and injustice, that

they can stand for public life for

1:59:351:59:41

positions in politics locally and

nationally. And so, I hope that we

1:59:411:59:46

can all continue to work together in

that effort. And as we have heard

1:59:461:59:51

today, while we have achieved a

great deal, the focus on progress

1:59:511:59:58

must continue. And progress comes

with pressure. And as we have seen

1:59:582:00:03

in the last year, some of the

stories through the #MeToo campaign

2:00:032:00:14

and the plight of women, in

countries where we would not expect

2:00:142:00:17

women to suffer the way they have

done, we have much to do. Around the

2:00:172:00:22

world, women continue to bear the

brunt of poverty much of war, sexual

2:00:222:00:28

violence and climate change. There

are are 130 million girls not in

2:00:282:00:34

education and 50 million girls of

primary school age will never get

2:00:342:00:37

the chance to learn to read or write

in grammar school and globally more

2:00:372:00:42

than a third of women are subject to

violence. 750 million women and

2:00:422:00:47

girls are married before the age of

18. Women today still face the brunt

2:00:472:00:55

far too often in conflicts around

the world. They have been exposed to

2:00:552:00:59

brutal attacks, often as deliberate

tools of political and ethnic

2:00:592:01:03

violence. In the Democratic Republic

of Congo, women are far more likely

2:01:032:01:08

than soldiers to be victims of

violence. In Sudan, South Sudan,

2:01:082:01:13

rape has been used as a weapon of

war by both government and

2:01:132:01:17

opposition forces. In a report

published by the International

2:01:172:01:20

Rescue Committee last year, it

stated the scale of violence against

2:01:202:01:24

women and girls in South Sudan is

double the global average. I give

2:01:242:01:27

way.

I think she is making a really

important point. We also know that

2:01:272:01:36

the longer term consequences of

these actions, the children in those

2:01:362:01:40

communities grow up seeing violence

around them and domestic violence

2:01:402:01:44

rates, even when peace has happened

in those countries, they are higher

2:01:442:01:48

than other countries. It is vital

she makes that point and she is

2:01:482:01:52

quite right to do so.

I thank the

honourable member, right honourable

2:01:522:01:57

member, for her contribution and the

work she did as International

2:01:572:02:00

Development Secretary. As someone

who served as a shadow international

2:02:002:02:07

development minister, we cannot, I

cannot stop being affected by the

2:02:072:02:14

experience of women in conflict

zones and other parts of the world.

2:02:142:02:19

The ongoing crisis in Syria has

forced the displacements of millions

2:02:192:02:23

of people who have fled to other

countries in the hope of safety but

2:02:232:02:28

who, as she points out, continue to

experience violence long after they

2:02:282:02:32

have fled the instability in their

own countries. Those women now

2:02:322:02:36

living in temporary refugee

settlements in Turkey, Lebanon,

2:02:362:02:41

Jordan, elsewhere, they have very

limited access to support and they

2:02:412:02:46

live in constant fear of further

violence and forced marriage. I give

2:02:462:02:49

way.

A very powerful point you are

making. With the honourable member

2:02:492:02:55

agree that much more should be done

to encourage more women to take part

2:02:552:03:00

in making peace and greater

recognition of the value that women

2:03:002:03:04

can make in making peace agreements

and trying to end conflict? That has

2:03:042:03:11

been the case in the history of

Northern Ireland for so many women,

2:03:112:03:14

helping to bring about the peace we

enjoy in Northern Ireland today.

I

2:03:142:03:18

couldn't agree more with the

honourable member and we have seen

2:03:182:03:21

the important contribution women can

make but too often they are left out

2:03:212:03:25

of those negotiations. Our

government must continue to push

2:03:252:03:30

forward on ensuring that they have a

strong voice in negotiations for

2:03:302:03:34

peace. Many girls whose lives have

already been devastated by the

2:03:342:03:40

conflict in their own countries, of

being forced into situations that no

2:03:402:03:44

child should have to face, they are

living in cycles of abuse,

2:03:442:03:50

exploitation and trauma. Madam

Deputy Speaker, I want to turn to

2:03:502:03:54

the situation of the Rohingya women

who have fled recently from the

2:03:542:04:02

conflict in Myanmar to Bangladesh.

70% of those affected, displaced,

2:04:022:04:11

women and children. The UN has

identified that what has happened

2:04:112:04:15

there as a textbook example of

ethnic cleansing and that genocide

2:04:152:04:18

cannot be ruled out. It is

increasingly apparent the Burmese

2:04:182:04:23

military has systematically used

rape and violence against Rohingya

2:04:232:04:27

women as part of their campaign of

terror, they have torched villages,

2:04:272:04:31

tortured civilians, especially

women. According to a UN report,

2:04:312:04:36

girls as young as five, seven, they

were raped, often in front of

2:04:362:04:41

relatives, sometimes by three to

five men, all dressed in army

2:04:412:04:45

uniforms, taking turns. The report

goes on to detail accounts of

2:04:452:04:49

summary executions, cases of torture

and disappearances. I visited the

2:04:492:04:55

region a number of times in recent

years and I have spoken to refugees

2:04:552:04:59

who have fled violence and who have

shared stories of rape and violence

2:04:592:05:04

against them. And as the world

watches on, we must make sure, our

2:05:042:05:13

government ensures that those who

have prosecuted the violence, the

2:05:132:05:17

Burmese military, are held to

account and a referral is made to

2:05:172:05:20

the International Criminal Court.

Violence against women is a

2:05:202:05:27

violation of human rights and we

have a collective responsibility to

2:05:272:05:31

protect women, here in this country

and around the world, from the

2:05:312:05:36

appalling suffering they face and

the implications of that suffering

2:05:362:05:40

on their children. Britain has a

proud history, as a leader in

2:05:402:05:45

international development, and we

must continue to press for progress

2:05:452:05:51

and as other honourable members have

pointed out, the millennium

2:05:512:05:55

development goals galvanised efforts

from countries around the world to

2:05:552:05:57

meet the needs of the world's

poorest and most vulnerable and

2:05:572:06:02

particularly women. We must continue

to support the sustainable

2:06:022:06:06

development goals, as well as

encourage other countries to do so.

2:06:062:06:09

The 2030 agenda for sustainable

development, adopted by world

2:06:092:06:16

leaders in 2015, offer a significant

opportunity for progress, with

2:06:162:06:21

gender equality and women's

empowerment at heart. The first of

2:06:212:06:26

the goals is to end poverty in all

its forms everywhere. Number five of

2:06:262:06:33

the goals is to achieve gender

equality and empower all women and

2:06:332:06:38

girls. I urge ministers across

government to champion the need to

2:06:382:06:43

achieve that and continue to support

our aid effort.

2:06:432:06:52

In conclusion I just want to stay

one personal story.

I was born in a

2:06:522:06:58

country, Bangladesh that was borne

out of conflict where millions of

2:06:582:07:01

people lost their lives. And...

Excuse me. Where rape and violence

2:07:012:07:11

was used as a weapon of war and that

continues in many other countries

2:07:112:07:17

today. We must all continue to work

hard to make sure that we bring an

2:07:172:07:23

end to sexual violence in conflict.

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. It

2:07:232:07:33

is an honour to follow such a moving

speech. One of my thoughts is

2:07:332:07:39

usually overconfidence, but I begin

to speak in this debate with a

2:07:392:07:43

degree of nervousness. There is so

much that often goes wrong, very

2:07:432:07:47

wrong when then tried to talk about

issues relating to women and their

2:07:472:07:50

rights. I could too easily end up

saying... I'm hoping to seize that

2:07:502:08:05

opportunity. I could too easily end

up saying that women need to step up

2:08:052:08:10

when the truth is that it is often

grotesque imbalances at the very

2:08:102:08:15

senior level that it means that men

who often equally need to step up

2:08:152:08:19

and work with women to deconstruct

the obstacles that stand in the path

2:08:192:08:24

of female progress. We need more men

to step up speak up in this case and

2:08:242:08:29

on all sides of the political

debate. -- in this place. I could

2:08:292:08:38

say that because we have a female

Prime Minister, Home Secretary, more

2:08:382:08:43

female MPs, this debate should be

over. But just because suicide is a

2:08:432:08:50

young male problem that we don't

have too investigate further. The

2:08:502:09:01

deeper one goes into any of these

issues are more likely... I want to

2:09:012:09:15

save three brief things. I couldn't

go on the women's march on Sunday

2:09:152:09:18

and I was sorry to miss it and I

tweeted as much and I said as well

2:09:182:09:23

that a better gender balance will

make Parliament stronger for

2:09:232:09:26

everyone. And for just a few hours I

subsequently received if not the

2:09:262:09:32

torrent that women often receive on

Twitter, but some abuse that was

2:09:322:09:43

keen to tell me what equal

opportunities look like. Twitter

2:09:432:09:53

told me that met at crossing would

be better. Twitter was also

2:09:532:10:05

explaining that...

2:10:052:10:13

It seems to me obvious that if an

equal Parliament better reflects the

2:10:172:10:23

population it serves it better

represents the population and it

2:10:232:10:26

adds more instinctively in the whole

country's interests. I can't help

2:10:262:10:31

thinking that in saying any of that

I am preaching to the converted. I

2:10:312:10:34

was shocked to see that what felt to

me to be obvious was interpreted so

2:10:342:10:40

often as an attack on men. That is

the second thing I want to say. To

2:10:402:10:45

too many people it seems to be the

case that for feminism to succeed,

2:10:452:10:50

men have to lose the reality is

surely that a society that draws

2:10:502:10:55

without discrimination on the

talents of its members is better for

2:10:552:10:59

all its members. When women are

treated better, men and women are

2:10:592:11:03

the winners. A fairer division of

Labour, both of how many people bed

2:11:032:11:09

disproportionate burdens for

childcare and disproportionate

2:11:092:11:12

burden for earning the money that

pays the mortgage, changing that

2:11:122:11:14

balance will benefit everyone. Men

have nothing to fear from the shards

2:11:142:11:20

of glass that fall after the

shattering of the glass ceiling. So

2:11:202:11:25

finally, Madam Deputy Speaker, I

want to talk about what men might do

2:11:252:11:29

to create a society that is so

equal, one day though one will bat

2:11:292:11:33

an eyelid that a man will have the

same aspirations for equality as a

2:11:332:11:38

woman. Should men still more often

be the senior people at work, should

2:11:382:11:48

they promote flexible working?

Should teacher training look at the

2:11:482:12:01

language employed? Should we

consider that if we make catcalling

2:12:012:12:12

a hate crime, we treat the symptoms

when we should all he had been

2:12:122:12:16

committed to treating the causes of

sexist behaviour, wherever they

2:12:162:12:20

start. Should we not do all of that

because when the country is better

2:12:202:12:24

for all women, it is better for all

men as well. I want to end on one

2:12:242:12:32

final note. I wanted to speak today,

not because I think I am some

2:12:322:12:36

paragon of right on virtue. On the

point of my virtue, I give way.

Can

2:12:362:12:46

I add one more to that list, and I

praise him for what has been a good

2:12:462:12:53

speech so far. That he joins the

White ribbon campaign so that we can

2:12:532:12:59

try and end violence against women

and children as well. He is most

2:12:592:13:05

welcome next Tuesday at a meeting.

Not least because the Secretary of

2:13:052:13:09

State is nodding vigorously. I take

it it is a good campaign. I'll do my

2:13:092:13:17

best to join him on Tuesday if I

can. As I was saying, I wanted to

2:13:172:13:21

speak because I'm not pretending I'm

a paragon of virtue on this matter

2:13:212:13:26

or and any other, but I want to

speak because I know I'm not. I

2:13:262:13:30

think the more we are conscious

across this house where we are weak,

2:13:302:13:35

the stronger we can be. And I know

how I failed to step up both at home

2:13:352:13:41

and at work and in this Chamber.

It's not always possible for a whole

2:13:412:13:46

host of very real reasons, but

personally and professionally,

2:13:462:13:51

inequality is all our loss and now

more than ever we need men to stand

2:13:512:13:55

up with women for fairness because

we will all be better off for it.

I

2:13:552:14:05

feel immensely privileged to be

speaking in this debate today to

2:14:052:14:10

mark International Women's Day and

100 years since some women first got

2:14:102:14:15

the vote. I represent a Boro

Lewisham where around proud to say

2:14:152:14:18

that 100 years after women got the

right to be members of Parliament,

2:14:182:14:23

we have three female MPs in our

borough and I'm delighted to serve

2:14:232:14:29

alongside the honourable members who

have given me immeasurable support,

2:14:292:14:32

both before and after my election to

this place. Lewisham is also a Boro

2:14:322:14:38

that has been pioneering in terms of

gender equality. In the council set

2:14:382:14:46

up the women's rights working party.

We have no gender pay gap and we

2:14:462:14:53

have more senior women in senior

roles. So much has been done, but

2:14:532:15:06

there is a great deal more to be

done. Having worked as an employment

2:15:062:15:10

rights lawyer for many years, I saw

all too often women being demoted or

2:15:102:15:17

dismissed after returning from

maternity leave and employers

2:15:172:15:20

placing unnecessary barriers on

flexible working. I saw women being

2:15:202:15:25

played in less than men for doing

work of equal value and I saw women

2:15:252:15:28

who were too afraid to speak out

when they were discriminated against

2:15:282:15:33

for fear that they might lose their

jobs. It was some of those

2:15:332:15:37

experiences that motivated me to try

and make a difference. After I

2:15:372:15:40

became a mum, two years ago on

International Women's Day I launched

2:15:402:15:47

my own business providing affordable

legal advice to women facing

2:15:472:15:51

maternity and sex discrimination at

work which I ran until being elected

2:15:512:15:55

to this place. I wish there was no

demand for such a business, but

2:15:552:15:59

there was and that is borne out by

the statistics. In 2016 the

2:15:592:16:05

Department for Business, Innovation

and Skills and the equality and

2:16:052:16:08

human rights commission undertook a

major piece of research in relation

2:16:082:16:11

to the prevalence and nature of

maternity discrimination at work.

2:16:112:16:16

The results based on survey reviews

with 3000 mothers and employers are

2:16:162:16:22

shocking. More than three in four

mothers, 7070%, said they had a

2:16:222:16:27

negative discriminatory experience

before or after maternity leave. One

2:16:272:16:32

in five months received harassment

or negative comments relating to

2:16:322:16:41

pregnancy flexible working. 10% of

mums were discouraged from attending

2:16:412:16:46

antenatal appointments by their

employer. 11% said they felt forced

2:16:462:16:50

to leave their job after having a

child. Scale up, this amounts to 54

2:16:502:16:59

with -- 54,000 women a year for

still leave their job simply because

2:16:592:17:03

they have become mothers. 18.4% is

the disparity between genders in

2:17:032:17:19

terms of pay. There was a huge

amount more that needs to be done

2:17:192:17:22

and should be done to end inequality

at work. Strong recommendations have

2:17:222:17:27

been made, but they are yet to be

inactive. All jobs should be

2:17:272:17:36

advertised as flexible by default

unless there is a strong reason not

2:17:362:17:38

to do so. In the age of technology,

Bing sat behind a desk -- being sat

2:17:382:17:51

behind a desk Monday to Friday is

not necessary. A culture shift is

2:17:512:17:58

needed so that families, both men

and women can better juggle worklife

2:17:582:18:02

balance and said that having

children does not diminish prospects

2:18:022:18:07

up work. We also urgently need

proper paid paternity leave to be

2:18:072:18:12

introduced. Share parental leave has

been a step in the right direction,

2:18:122:18:17

however take-up has been loaded at

only an estimated 2%, and the

2:18:172:18:22

statutory rates of pay means it's

only an option for those in high

2:18:222:18:26

income families for those with

savings. In addition, a model of

2:18:262:18:31

transferring leave from mum to dad

does not work for all families.

2:18:312:18:36

Instead nontransferable paternity

leave plagues at a rate closer to

2:18:362:18:40

actual earning should be

implemented. Only then will we get a

2:18:402:18:44

cultural shift at work needed to end

stereotypes about women being a

2:18:442:18:50

burden and then being solely

responsible for childcare

2:18:502:18:57

responsibilities. Laws in relation

to maternity discrimination and the

2:18:572:19:02

enforcement for breach also need

toughening up. To start with it

2:19:022:19:07

should be made harder for women to

be made redundant after they

2:19:072:19:11

maternity leave. Regulation ten of

the maternity and parental leave

2:19:112:19:17

regulations 1999 give women some

protection against being made

2:19:172:19:20

redundant whilst pregnant or on

maternity leave. However be

2:19:202:19:24

protected period ends when the woman

returns to work. This does not make

2:19:242:19:28

sense given that very often it's

exactly at this point when a new mum

2:19:282:19:32

comes back to work that they begin

to feel pushed out. Therefore I

2:19:322:19:37

believe that to strengthen our

discrimination lauds the period of

2:19:372:19:41

detection against redundancy should

be extended to 12 months after a

2:19:412:19:46

woman returns to work following

maternity leave. We need stricter

2:19:462:19:49

sanctions for employers who breach

gender laws. I welcome the policy

2:19:492:19:57

launched today. This policy will

help to close the gender pay gap by

2:19:572:20:05

making sure that all employers

employing over 250 members of staff

2:20:052:20:16

have two published salaries. If

employers risk losing money they are

2:20:162:20:19

more likely to comply with the legal

obligation. Finally, rights are hard

2:20:192:20:26

to enforce. According to maternity

action the introduction of Tribunal

2:20:262:20:31

fees led to a reduction of 40% in

maternity claims. I'm alarmed that

2:20:312:20:38

there has been some suggestion that

these may be reintroduced, but at a

2:20:382:20:44

lower level. Tribunal fees are a

barrier to access for justice for

2:20:442:20:50

women who have been discriminated

against at work. The time limit for

2:20:502:20:54

bringing a claim for maternity

discrimination is three months. It's

2:20:542:21:04

not long enough. When you have a

newborn baby at home you are likely

2:21:042:21:08

to be having sleepless nights, not

to mention feeding around the clock

2:21:082:21:13

and endless nappy changes. New mums

often go through a huge period of

2:21:132:21:18

readjustment, physically and

mentally. So the notion that they

2:21:182:21:22

will be engaging with a complex

legal process is unrealistic in many

2:21:222:21:26

cases. That's why it's more likely

women will assert their rights if

2:21:262:21:30

the time limit was increased from

three months up to six. Today I will

2:21:302:21:37

be proud to be marking International

Women's Day by speaking at an event

2:21:372:21:41

in Lewisham alongside some of the

original members of the Lewisham

2:21:412:21:45

women's rights working party. We

will reflect on what has been

2:21:452:21:49

achieved over the last two decades

and also how much more we still have

2:21:492:21:53

to do. Ending the gender pay gap

once and for all, making flexible

2:21:532:21:57

working the norm rather than the

exception, promoting shared caring

2:21:572:22:02

responsibilities. Only then will we

achieve true gender equality at

2:22:022:22:06

work.

It is a huge honour to be

called to speak as the first woman

2:22:062:22:17

member of Parliament for Chelmsford

on this the International Day for

2:22:172:22:21

women in the trivia since women won

the vote. Yesterday I became a

2:22:212:22:26

member of the select committee for

women and equality and I attended my

2:22:262:22:33

first meeting. There are a number of

mothers on the committee and we are

2:22:332:22:37

looking at the challenges parents

face when a newborn baby and we came

2:22:372:22:43

up with a long list of

recommendations, every single one of

2:22:432:22:47

which is to help the fathers. It is

only by working together will we

2:22:472:22:54

achieve equality and I'd like to

thank the members for Lewisham West

2:22:542:23:01

and Penge, but especially the member

for Boston and Skegness for their

2:23:012:23:07

contributions to the debate. This

year is also the year of

2:23:072:23:14

engineering. I'd like to focus my

words on issues that affect women in

2:23:142:23:19

science, technology, engineering and

mathematics.

2:23:192:23:25

Engineering UK estimate demand for

graduate engineers outstrips supply

2:23:252:23:28

by 20,000 people last year. We

aspire to be a world leading

2:23:282:23:38

21st-century innovative economy. We

need to double the number of

2:23:382:23:40

engineering students at our

universities. And we will only

2:23:402:23:46

succeed if we inspire the next

generation of young women in our

2:23:462:23:53

schools to take up the opportunities

of science and Tech. Before coming

2:23:532:23:59

to the house today, I attended a

school assembly at the junior school

2:23:592:24:04

in Chelmsford. I met a girl in year

three, she told me she is named

2:24:042:24:12

after Ada Lovelace, the pioneer of

computing, she invented the first

2:24:122:24:22

algorithm run on a computer, the

world's first computer programmer.

2:24:222:24:27

She was the mother of the digital

revolution. We all know about

2:24:272:24:33

Charles Babbage, he invented the

machine, she discovered what the

2:24:332:24:36

machine could do. And Ada Barnes

asked me who had inspired me. Do I

2:24:362:24:48

choose my own daughter's namesake,

Elizabeth, our Queen, who stood on

2:24:482:24:54

the dockside as the Spanish Armada

was coming and explained she had the

2:24:542:25:01

body of a weak and feeble woman, but

the heart and stomach of a king, and

2:25:012:25:08

defended our country? Do I choose my

namesake, Queen Victoria? Who not

2:25:082:25:13

only ran the huge British Empire but

also was mother to nine children. I

2:25:132:25:20

want to focus on women in science,

do I focus on Margaret Thatcher? Not

2:25:202:25:24

only our first woman Prime Minister

but a scientist too. In some areas

2:25:242:25:29

of science, we are doing really

well. Women at medical school

2:25:292:25:35

studying to become doctors in our

country are 50-50. Inmates and...

2:25:352:25:41

Yes. Thank you. -- in medicine.

But

she recognise Margaret Thatcher was

2:25:412:25:47

in fact the scientist behind the Mr

whippy ice cream as well?

2:25:472:25:54

Absolutely. It shows how interesting

science is. Women in science make

2:25:542:26:01

great leaders and women doctors

actually already have broken through

2:26:012:26:05

the glass ceiling. Last year the

chair of the academy at the medical

2:26:052:26:12

royal colleges brought together the

presidents of the royal colleges of

2:26:122:26:17

surgeons, physicians and

pathologists, radiologists,

2:26:172:26:22

obstetricians and gynaecologists,

general practitioners,

2:26:222:26:24

paediatricians, they were joined by

the outgoing president of the Royal

2:26:242:26:30

College of ophthalmologists for a

photocall. Every single one of the

2:26:302:26:33

nine people present was a woman. Our

Chief Medical Officer, Professor

2:26:332:26:42

Dame Sally Davies, she is a

phenomenal woman, leading the world

2:26:422:26:46

with her campaigns on antimicrobial

resistance and now focusing on air

2:26:462:26:52

quality. If you are interested in

technology and AI, go and meet our

2:26:522:26:59

Information Commissioner, Elizabeth

Denham, she is inspirational. A

2:26:592:27:04

degree in history and a Masters in

information science. There are areas

2:27:042:27:09

of science where we are not doing at

all well. Less than one in ten of

2:27:092:27:15

the engineers in this country are

women. We have the lowest level of

2:27:152:27:21

female engineering professionals

anywhere in Europe. We are not only

2:27:212:27:27

behind Germany and France, we are

way behind countries like Latvia,

2:27:272:27:33

Bulgaria, Cyprus. We must do better.

Increasing the number of pupils

2:27:332:27:37

taking maths A-level is key. In

November, the Government announced

2:27:372:27:43

schools would get an extra £600 for

every additional people taking maths

2:27:432:27:47

A-level. That has the potential to

be transformational. Thank you,

2:27:472:27:56

ministers, for that. I hope it will

increase the numbers of pupils

2:27:562:28:00

studying maths but it will not

necessarily solve the issue because

2:28:002:28:04

already four out of ten of the

people doing maths A-level girls,

2:28:042:28:08

that is not where the issue lies.

The problem is physics. To become an

2:28:082:28:19

engineer today, one needs to do not

only maths but physics too and girls

2:28:192:28:23

are really good at physics, at GCSE

level, the classes are 50-50. 64,000

2:28:232:28:29

girls did physics GCSE last year and

nearly half of them got a top grade.

2:28:292:28:35

A or A*. Brilliant. But when it

comes to the level of girls doing

2:28:352:28:42

A-level, it has dropped from 50-50

to adjust one in five. The ratio has

2:28:422:28:49

not changed for 20 years. We must

encourage young women to do more in

2:28:492:28:55

physics. I need to declare an

interest. I did actually do physics

2:28:552:29:00

A-level. I did win a prize. I won a

prize, the silver medal, in the

2:29:002:29:07

physics Olympiad. I still have the

book that I was awarded. If you open

2:29:072:29:13

the front cover, it is inscribed to

Mr Victoria and congratulates him on

2:29:132:29:20

his achievement. Madam Deputy

Speaker, I gave up physics. I did

2:29:202:29:26

not really think this was a career

that valued me. It is ancient

2:29:262:29:34

history and a generation later, much

has changed, but we do need to

2:29:342:29:38

encourage girls and give them the

evidence of why that career wants

2:29:382:29:44

them. What I told the primary school

assembly today is three reasons why

2:29:442:29:49

the goals might want to consider a

career in engineering. -- the girls.

2:29:492:29:55

Number one, they are wanted, one

third of companies today say they

2:29:552:29:58

cannot find the STEM skills they

need. If you do science and

2:29:582:30:05

technology, you will find jobs.

Number two, you will make money.

2:30:052:30:08

Those jobs will be well paid. When

we look at the evidence, if a girl

2:30:082:30:13

has studied maths and another

science at A-level, they are on

2:30:132:30:16

average earn 30% more than their

peers. 30p for every extra pound.

2:30:162:30:24

Thirdly, girls, you will be happy.

We recently did a study of over 300

2:30:242:30:30

women engineers and over 80% said

they were happy or very happy with

2:30:302:30:35

their career choice. How many people

say that? Taking a degree in

2:30:352:30:40

engineering is a passport to work

across the world, engineering gave

2:30:402:30:45

us flight, helps to break through

the frontier of space and last month

2:30:452:30:48

I was in Switzerland at Cern. It

does not mean giving up the glitz

2:30:482:30:59

and glamour, at the catwalks in

Milan, ten days ago, they had got

2:30:592:31:04

rid of the models, the handbags were

flown down the catwalks, paraded by

2:31:042:31:08

an array, a squadron of drones.

Madam Deputy Speaker, it is

2:31:082:31:15

International Women's Day, a century

since women got the vote, the year

2:31:152:31:22

of engineering, may I ask that we

encourage all the women and men in

2:31:222:31:27

this House to use that opportunity

to go out and inspire the young

2:31:272:31:32

women in our schools and classrooms

to consider a career in engineering?

2:31:322:31:39

Thank you. It is an honour and a

pleasure to follow the honourable

2:31:392:31:45

member for Chelmsford. I shared that

memorable trip to Cern last month

2:31:452:31:50

and it was a joy, I was particularly

moved when I came across two old

2:31:502:31:54

school friends, both female, working

on the Large Hadron Collider and I

2:31:542:31:58

nearly understand what they are

doing, very nearly. I am delighted

2:31:582:32:03

to be following the honourable lady.

In the 21st century, is it not time

2:32:032:32:09

to say, job done? We don't need

International Women's Day anymore. I

2:32:092:32:14

say, we still need it as much as

ever, as so many other people have

2:32:142:32:18

said in this House today, not

because I looked backwards refusing

2:32:182:32:22

to accept progress, I celebrate

progress and that is one of the

2:32:222:32:25

reason why it is so important, that

we celebrate our achievements, and

2:32:252:32:30

not because I want women in the role

of victim, quite the opposite. And

2:32:302:32:34

not because the job is done because

it is not. International Women's Day

2:32:342:32:39

has the power to focus people's

minds, not just in this place, but

2:32:392:32:44

women's and men's across the country

and world in productive ways and

2:32:442:32:48

there are benefits for men and women

of doing so. One way is the domestic

2:32:482:32:53

stock take, and others have

mentioned this, I will give a few

2:32:532:32:56

more examples. 8th of March gives us

the notch to ask, how are we doing

2:32:562:33:00

on different dimensions of gender

equality? The affordability and

2:33:002:33:05

availability of childcare, gender

pay gaps, the impact of public

2:33:052:33:09

sector finance cuts on women's

lives, all of these give us a sieve

2:33:092:33:16

forces being at the stubborn aspects

of economic and other inequality.

2:33:162:33:19

Another value of this day is to lift

our gaze to the rest of the world,

2:33:192:33:25

we should be asking, how have the

millennium development goals and now

2:33:252:33:30

the sustainable development goals

benefited women and girls? How might

2:33:302:33:34

women's lives be improved by better

more inclusive and transparent

2:33:342:33:38

processes for trade negotiations,

for example? It matters. Women get

2:33:382:33:44

left out of those processes. What is

the availability or not of water,

2:33:442:33:53

sanitation, health care, education,

finance, technology? What is it

2:33:532:33:55

doing to limit or assist women and

girl's routes to learning and

2:33:552:34:00

improvement across the world? A

third value, the one I want to focus

2:34:002:34:04

on, imagining. What would a world

free of gender inequality really

2:34:042:34:10

look like? How would we recognise

it? How would it be better for women

2:34:102:34:14

and men? What more do we need to do

to get there? How will women's

2:34:142:34:19

liberation truly change the world?

This would be a world in which none

2:34:192:34:23

of us, no woman, would ever be

fearful or uncomfortable walking

2:34:232:34:30

down the city centre street or into

an office, whatever time of day,

2:34:302:34:34

night, whatever they are wearing, it

would be unthinkable that my nieces

2:34:342:34:39

would ever be sexually harassed or

even have to think about the

2:34:392:34:43

possibility. It would be absolutely

impossible my mother would be made

2:34:432:34:47

nervous by the groups of loud men

shouting stuff. No one would dream

2:34:472:34:55

of paying to have someone else's

body at their disposal for sexual

2:34:552:35:00

gratification or objectification or

abuse, whether in a so-called sexual

2:35:002:35:06

entertainment venue or in

prostitution, pornography, or in an

2:35:062:35:12

intimate relationship. In a world of

gender equality... It is difficult

2:35:122:35:17

to imagine it! In a world of gender

equality, women's liberation, no man

2:35:172:35:23

would even want to do any of those

things because they would choose and

2:35:232:35:26

they would know the benefits and

they would know how to have intimate

2:35:262:35:33

relationships, professional

relationships, and social and wider

2:35:332:35:35

public relationships with women

based on respect. And in the case of

2:35:352:35:39

intimate relationships, based on

shared mutual enjoyment, rather than

2:35:392:35:43

enforced. I pay tribute to Bristol's

women voice and the Fawcett Society

2:35:432:35:51

working on campaigning specifically

on how to change the landscape for

2:35:512:35:55

sexual objectification and

gratification and challenge our

2:35:552:35:58

rules and processes for how we make

decisions about so-called sexual

2:35:582:36:02

entertainment venues. This would be

a world in which young girls are

2:36:022:36:06

just as likely as young boys to

consider jobs and technology,

2:36:062:36:10

engineering, particle physics,

business management, take up

2:36:102:36:15

apprenticeships in the building

trade and catering, and as likely to

2:36:152:36:19

get those jobs as male peers and

without any comment, any eyebrow

2:36:192:36:24

raising, any sexual harassment at

work when they did. It would be a

2:36:242:36:28

world in which all employers, not

just a really good ones, and they do

2:36:282:36:36

definitely exist, all employers

would see men as potentially needing

2:36:362:36:39

time off to care for children,

babies, older relatives, not just

2:36:392:36:43

women. They would then, as some

employers already do, work with

2:36:432:36:47

their employees and trade unions to

value those qualities in men and

2:36:472:36:53

women rather than discriminate

against them and they would work out

2:36:532:36:56

how to manage the employment

structures needed, and that is a big

2:36:562:37:00

job for all of us on the 21st

century. It would be a world in

2:37:002:37:04

which rape would not be used as a

war crime and in my head, a big

2:37:042:37:09

imagine, it would be a world in

which rape was not a part of any

2:37:092:37:15

woman's life. Even saying it out

loud, I'm struck by the fact it

2:37:152:37:18

seems really difficult to imagine

and it is a marker of why

2:37:182:37:23

International Women's Day is still

so important because to me it should

2:37:232:37:27

be unimaginable that any man would

ever think that was a choice, an

2:37:272:37:31

option, something they would want to

do.

2:37:312:37:37

It will be a world where and not

just refugee women were traffic,

2:37:372:37:42

abused and their talents refuse to

be recognised, but also a world in

2:37:422:37:45

which ideally, the end of violence

against women and girls have meant

2:37:452:37:51

that the use of rape as a war crime

was over and also the abuse of women

2:37:512:37:56

in other parts of conflict was over

so that women and girls were not

2:37:562:38:00

forced to flee their homelands in

the first place, but if they were,

2:38:002:38:03

we would welcome them and make them

safe. So how do we get there?

2:38:032:38:09

Government, business, education,

they all have their roles, and so do

2:38:092:38:13

we do, but I want to start in this

room. Men and women, we can help to

2:38:132:38:19

bring about an benefit from true

gender equality. Women in distress

2:38:192:38:23

and beyond can ask a series of

questions. Can you be someone who

2:38:232:38:28

encourages other women and girls?

Can you spot potential and tell them

2:38:282:38:33

because they may not have realised

it. Can you take part in many of the

2:38:332:38:40

schemes allowing women to shadow you

be mentored by you. Can you stand by

2:38:402:38:47

your sisters affected by those

injustices even though if the --

2:38:472:38:56

even though you suffer not. Will you

always thank those women who have

2:38:562:39:05

mental and helped you? We let them

know years later just how there

2:39:052:39:09

advice worked out for you? I want to

a very briefly thank you to my maths

2:39:092:39:15

teacher who years and years ago

helped me to see that maths was for

2:39:152:39:20

girls. But also to many women MPs,

too many to mention, but

2:39:202:39:26

particularly the member for Peckham

and Camberwell who I am delighted to

2:39:262:39:33

say is just in front of me. I've

been showing how much women MPs can

2:39:332:39:43

do for women and in ways that would

not be known. While I'm at the

2:39:432:39:57

thanking stage of the speech, I'd

like to save thank you to all the

2:39:572:40:02

women in my family, particularly the

young women who challenge me and

2:40:022:40:06

make me think again about my

particular form of feminism. All the

2:40:062:40:10

sisters in the violence against

women movement who have made much

2:40:102:40:14

progress. Finally, I ask us all, can

we look around and see if we can

2:40:142:40:25

spot where we are making progress

towards that truly great gender

2:40:252:40:29

equal world where progress is still

stalling and be honest about it. I'm

2:40:292:40:33

happy to give way.

Such a passionate

case and I wonder whether in the

2:40:332:40:42

spirit of cross-party relations, one

of the great strengths of women is

2:40:422:40:45

that they are very good at working

together. We have our differences,

2:40:452:40:48

but one we get together, for example

the Jo Cox campaign, I think we do

2:40:482:40:55

great work. Perhaps we should

highlight that more and on a day

2:40:552:40:58

like today we particularly should

pay credit to the women that work

2:40:582:41:03

together on so many areas and can do

so much great work.

I thank the

2:41:032:41:09

Honourable lady for that

intervention, she's almost predicted

2:41:092:41:12

what I was about to say next. In

this place I'm asking us all, can do

2:41:122:41:20

more? -- come we do more? We all in

our different ways find a way to

2:41:202:41:41

work cross-party. Can we show more

women and men that women are capable

2:41:412:41:47

of political leadership? Can we

speak out, ask questions, use our

2:41:472:41:52

work positions for good, demand

answers, hold others and ourselves

2:41:522:41:56

to account? Can we show women and

girls that there is potentially

2:41:562:42:06

another me too hashtag that says me

to, I can take a leadership role,

2:42:062:42:15

study maths, work on whatever

matters to me, not held back by my

2:42:152:42:19

gender. Come we always give out that

hope? My hope is that everyone here

2:42:192:42:24

in this place today can take some of

the suggestions, some of the

2:42:242:42:28

suggestions that have come from

honourable members from all sides of

2:42:282:42:33

the house, come we take with some of

the spirit of International Women's

2:42:332:42:37

Day here in this place and up all of

us get ever closer to a world where

2:42:372:42:41

gender equality and women's

liberation is a reality for us all.

2:42:412:42:45

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

It's a great pleasure to follow a

2:42:452:42:51

wonderful speech by the honourable

member for Bristol West. Thank you

2:42:512:42:55

for that. There is certainly cause

on International Women's Day to

2:42:552:42:59

celebrate women who have achieved

great things as well as remembering

2:42:592:43:02

the women who are still striving to

change the world. There is cause to

2:43:022:43:08

celebrate the glory of Anne Glover,

a biologist who was Scotland's first

2:43:082:43:13

chief scientific adviser and later

became scientific adviser to the

2:43:132:43:18

president of the European Union.

Professor Glover is about to become

2:43:182:43:23

the next president of the Royal

Society of Edinburgh. Then there is

2:43:232:43:29

Victoria Drummond. The honourable

member for Chelmsford will be happy

2:43:292:43:33

to hear about her. The first woman

to serve as a merchant navy chief

2:43:332:43:39

engineer. The first woman to hold a

board of trade certificate, the

2:43:392:43:44

first woman to receive the Lloyds

medal for bravery at sea for courage

2:43:442:43:50

under fire during World War II. Can

talk

2:43:502:44:02

about so many women who campaigned

for the end of dawn raids and is

2:44:032:44:15

children being retained under the

immigration act. These are young

2:44:152:44:31

girls who are already very

impressive. There are legions of

2:44:312:44:35

women who have proved their ability

in many fields and there are many

2:44:352:44:40

more proving that now. Being a woman

is not a design error, nor is it a

2:44:402:44:45

blessing without measure. Women are

quite simply human beings. All

2:44:452:44:50

around the world though there are

examples of women being treated

2:44:502:44:54

unfairly and fall the simple crime

of being a woman with her some

2:44:542:44:58

examples of that from others today.

I think though that we can be too

2:44:582:45:04

smug in suggesting that it's

something that thrives elsewhere and

2:45:042:45:06

has no foundation here. The time is

up and the need to revelations have

2:45:062:45:12

shown that sexism is deeply embedded

in our culture but it's seen as a

2:45:122:45:22

part of life and women are expected

to deal with it. We see in this

2:45:222:45:25

house. Eight juvenile grinning

idiocy that is so offensive

2:45:252:45:31

sometimes that the smugness of a

minority of men who think that

2:45:312:45:39

point-scoring mean something.

Anti-intellectual nonsense which

2:45:392:45:43

makes its continuing debate so

tiring. There are men in this house

2:45:432:45:47

who have a record of opposing

progressive politics without

2:45:472:45:51

substantive argument but with plenty

of Gloucester and filibustering,

2:45:512:45:59

opposing polities as a playground

joke. I and others are tired of

2:45:592:46:05

engaging with men with so very

little to offer and I am pleased

2:46:052:46:09

that they only represent a tiny

percentage of the men I encounter. I

2:46:092:46:13

would encourage all members to watch

the video of the debate in

2:46:132:46:19

Westminster yesterday. You will see

an intervention that illustrates

2:46:192:46:22

very well what I was speaking about.

There were also several excellent

2:46:222:46:27

and important contributions made and

they were adjusting. I would

2:46:272:46:31

recommend again the contribution of

my honourable friend who represents

2:46:312:46:36

Paisley and Renfrewshire South. His

speech added a clarity that made a

2:46:362:46:42

harsh point even more effective. As

the honourable member for

2:46:422:46:47

Walthamstow said, we seem to have

come to a point where women are

2:46:472:46:51

expected to address misogyny very

often rather than men. I hope this

2:46:512:46:57

year terms that around. I do have

hope for Scotland's politics in that

2:46:572:47:01

regard though because we have a

woman First Minister who is an

2:47:012:47:06

extremely effective politician.

Former Leader of the Opposition in

2:47:062:47:10

Holyrood and a woman head of our

service. We have a gender balanced

2:47:102:47:16

Cabinet in the Scottish Government

already and a large number of very

2:47:162:47:19

good women in local government. It's

not so much a stage that change is

2:47:192:47:28

coming, it is happening and Scottish

politics is being rebalanced. In

2:47:282:47:33

this world where the president of

the United States excuses juvenile

2:47:332:47:36

offensiveness by claiming it was

just the two men indulge in in the

2:47:362:47:42

changing room at the gym and members

of this house are falling short of

2:47:422:47:45

decency leading the staff of this

place feeling unable to raise

2:47:452:47:50

complaints, it is surely time to

clean the stables, and I would ask

2:47:502:47:54

all members to take that on board,

as I know you will.

Thank you, Madam

2:47:542:48:02

Deputy Speaker, and it's a pleasure

to follow on from the honourable

2:48:022:48:07

member for Edinburgh North and

Leith. It's an honour to speak today

2:48:072:48:12

and it's important to do so on

International Women's Day. I hope to

2:48:122:48:19

raise awareness of the significant

challenges that still face women in

2:48:192:48:23

politics in this significant year,

celebrating 100 years of some women

2:48:232:48:28

getting the vote. On arriving in

Westminster last June, it was

2:48:282:48:32

extraordinary that how a group of us

became friendly because we realise

2:48:322:48:37

we were in a similar situation. One

of the common denominator is worth

2:48:372:48:42

that we were single parents elected

to Parliament and we were women. At

2:48:422:48:47

least five of us found ourselves

thrust from being a working single

2:48:472:48:51

parents to members of Parliament

practically overnight. We are proud

2:48:512:48:56

to be everyday working class women

standing up for our communities. I'm

2:48:562:49:01

proud to be a member of the women

and equality selectivity and to be

2:49:012:49:05

part of the single parents a PG G

which will be officially launched on

2:49:052:49:11

the 21st of March. In some of the

very first conversations with the

2:49:112:49:18

chair, she said that she had never

discussed being a single mother

2:49:182:49:22

before. It seemed that in our

company she felt comfortable enough

2:49:222:49:26

to speak about it. Being as a parent

is not a status people want to

2:49:262:49:32

necessarily share as it brings with

it a stigma. It will be interesting

2:49:322:49:36

to know across this house how many

members are actually single parents

2:49:362:49:40

and I believe it is imperative that

we stand together to recognise the

2:49:402:49:44

challenges that lone parents face.

In the media also Stacey Solomon has

2:49:442:49:49

championed being a single mother and

taken a lot of criticism for it, but

2:49:492:49:54

she speaks plainly and openly about

the mummy guilt that goes with

2:49:542:49:58

working away from home and that goes

with being in the public eye. There

2:49:582:50:05

are many -- there are many

challenges I have experienced since

2:50:052:50:09

becoming an MP unbalancing family

life is difficult. It can be

2:50:092:50:14

difficult to maintain a relationship

and that is one of the sacrifices

2:50:142:50:19

I've had to make, but throughout my

working life I have seen how many

2:50:192:50:25

women are juggling balls. It's

something I've been proud of that I

2:50:252:50:29

can do, but even the most talented

jugglers drop a ball. So when you

2:50:292:50:38

are on your own, when you are the

provider, the organiser, the mother,

2:50:382:50:44

the daughter, the person who people

depend on, where do you turn when

2:50:442:50:47

that ball drops? Sadly many women

return to abusive relationships, go

2:50:472:50:53

further into debt, turn to alcohol,

drugs or antidepressants. A report

2:50:532:51:00

in July last year shows how single

parents on low incomes are being hit

2:51:002:51:04

so hard by rising living costs and

the benefit freeze. How they cope

2:51:042:51:09

with the impact of low pay and

insecurity is of great concern to me

2:51:092:51:13

and my colleagues because while we

have been working in relatively

2:51:132:51:17

well-paid jobs, we know first-hand

the cost of a divorce or separation

2:51:172:51:22

is not only financial, but also

emotional. Only last night when I

2:51:222:51:27

should have been preparing this

speech I was chatting to two friends

2:51:272:51:31

who I studied A-levels with,

unfortunately not maths. Both

2:51:312:51:37

ambitious and talented women who I

have shared my life 's journey with.

2:51:372:51:42

Both happily married, but one

battles of the data have her hard

2:51:422:51:47

work recognise and she fears she

will be seen as a troublemaker. That

2:51:472:51:55

is not the working environment we

want for women or anyone in society

2:51:552:51:59

in 2018. In contrast I was telling

her about our other friend who lives

2:51:592:52:05

in Melbourne Australia. She said

don't tell me about her perfect

2:52:052:52:10

beach life down under. Unfortunately

I had to tell her that our friend

2:52:102:52:14

had suffered something similar to a

stroke and that even after intense

2:52:142:52:21

physiotherapy, a full recovery is

unlikely. I told her that I was

2:52:212:52:31

sending her strength and love on

International Women's Day. She said

2:52:312:52:34

that her daughter was doing a

presentation at school about

2:52:342:52:38

inspiring women and she was going to

talk about this famous woman who

2:52:382:52:41

followed her dream to influence

change. A teacher, a single mother

2:52:412:52:47

and a family friend.

2:52:472:52:52

So many women are fighting a battle,

trying to hold it together. But

2:52:522:52:58

women in all walks of life are

fighting a daily battle, and it is

2:52:582:53:01

great the dynamics of this House are

changing. Being a female member of

2:53:012:53:06

Parliament is incredible, and I will

always be in awe and wonder of the

2:53:062:53:11

privilege, but every woman faces a

challenge every day, and the

2:53:112:53:15

challenges we face reflects the

challenges our society put on women

2:53:152:53:22

every day, from harassment and all

forms of putting food on the table

2:53:222:53:25

of providing homes to our children.

We have many challenges in getting

2:53:252:53:28

more women into politics, and we

need to identify those barriers to

2:53:282:53:33

make careers in politics more

accessible to women. I read in the

2:53:332:53:39

guardian yesterday that Sarah Childs

from bug bug University argues that

2:53:392:53:41

political parties need to think

again about how they assess women's

2:53:412:53:47

contributions. If long service is a

condition of selection, it

2:53:472:53:53

discriminates against women with

caring responsibilities. She called

2:53:532:53:58

for a rethink of what constitutes a

good party member, because the

2:53:582:54:01

weight is viewed often is excludes

women. I am a late, late, to

2:54:012:54:15

politics, and I'm fortunate that my

talent was recognised by Welsh

2:54:152:54:18

Labour. I draw comparisons from my

time playing rugby. I obviously

2:54:182:54:23

believe that rugby is the best team

sport in the world. They provide a

2:54:232:54:31

platform from wide range of players,

and that is the key to a successful

2:54:312:54:34

team. Successful political team has

its forwards and backs. It draws

2:54:342:54:40

from a wide range of skills. But

more importantly represent society,

2:54:402:54:47

and we have to strive to be a

political team that reflect our

2:54:472:54:51

communities 50/50, which is why the

new Labour intake and the new intake

2:54:512:54:57

across the House in 2017 has brought

a new dynamic not just to the Labour

2:54:572:55:00

Party but this Parliament, and I

look forward to is continuing to

2:55:002:55:06

make a difference to the lives of

women in the United Kingdom and

2:55:062:55:09

across the world.

I think it's been

an excellent debate where we've had

2:55:092:55:19

so far the soft and in with some

very inspiring speeches about

2:55:192:55:24

International Women's Day. I want to

spend the time that I've got this

2:55:242:55:27

afternoon doing some womansplaining.

I want to look back at some amazing

2:55:272:55:39

ordinary women who extreme and

extraordinary changes in our society

2:55:392:55:42

but often been ignored or written

out of history. I want to tell you

2:55:422:55:48

three stories. In July 1888, a

strike took place. 1400 match women

2:55:482:55:56

in the East End went on strike

against bullying, low pay and

2:55:562:56:03

dangerous working conditions which

resulted in many of those women

2:56:032:56:12

developing fossae jaw. 178 women

machinists at Ford in Dagenham also

2:56:122:56:19

took action. And my third story,

also in 1968, is about the campaign

2:56:192:56:25

by the hassle road women's committee

in Hull, led by four great women,

2:56:252:56:31

Lily Bologa, Yvonne Blenkinsop, Mary

Dennis and Christine Jensen, and

2:56:312:56:36

they come campaigns to improve

conditions for men at sea. A trawler

2:56:362:56:51

man was 17 times more likely to die

in an industrial accident at sea

2:56:512:56:58

than the average worker. It was the

most dangerous occupation on earth.

2:56:582:57:03

6000 men had died at sea, and when a

further 50 were lost on three

2:57:032:57:16

trawlers between January and

February 1968, it became known as

2:57:162:57:20

the triple trawler disaster. There

is lost for the husbands, sons,

2:57:202:57:26

brothers, uncles and nephews of the

women in Hull, and as Lily said

2:57:262:57:40

after that triple trawler disaster,

enough is enough, when they started

2:57:402:57:48

campaigning for their menfolk. All

those campaigns that I mentioned, of

2:57:482:58:02

campaigning and taking actions that

shocked the society of their time

2:58:022:58:05

and offended some. It went against

the view that women should not have

2:58:052:58:08

use of their own or the will to take

action, and I have to say at this

2:58:082:58:13

point I was thinking of the maxim

well-behaved women rarely make

2:58:132:58:17

history. So in 1888, late Victorian

England, match women were dismissed

2:58:172:58:25

as little more than ignorant young

women largely of Irish immigrant

2:58:252:58:29

stock who were easily led astray by

outside militant forces, and the

2:58:292:58:35

1968 Dagenham women machinists

fought as much against the TGWU

2:58:352:58:42

Establishment at the time, tepid at

best in any support the equal pay,

2:58:422:58:46

as much as they fought against the

Detroit bosses of Ford. And Hull's

2:58:462:58:54

headscarf revolutionaries shocked

the nation and not the Vietnam War

2:58:542:58:59

the front pages of newspapers with

their 10,000 name petition, their

2:58:592:59:03

local marches and their picketing of

the dockside. They took the fight to

2:59:032:59:08

Westminster and met Harold Wilson.

They threatened to picket his

2:59:082:59:11

private home if their demands to

improve safety were not met, and

2:59:112:59:14

they did this in the face of death

threats. Actual violence and insults

2:59:142:59:20

from trawler owners and others. They

were described as hysterical women,

2:59:202:59:25

and they were told they shouldn't

get involved in men's business, and

2:59:252:59:29

this was of course all before social

media, and we know now how threats

2:59:292:59:34

and insults are used to try and put

women down and stop them from

2:59:342:59:38

standing up for the issues they care

about. Secondly, all these women

2:59:382:59:44

achieved far more in a very short

period of time than men supposedly

2:59:442:59:50

campaigning for the same causes

achieved over decades. So the 1888

2:59:502:59:57

by the strike lasted only around 14

days, but it won more progress than

2:59:573:00:02

the men had achieved in decades

before, and the ripple change

3:00:023:00:06

throughout the wider labour movement

was even more profound. From the

3:00:063:00:10

match women's strike, because the

following year we had the 1889 dock

3:00:103:00:15

strike in east London. It spawned

more politically active new

3:00:153:00:20

Unionism. And as such, I believe

that the match women can be

3:00:203:00:24

described as the founding mothers of

the Labour Party. And in the 1968

3:00:243:00:30

for Dagenham strike, lasting just 21

days, like the match women and

3:00:303:00:35

headscarf revolutionaries in Hull,

they brought their case to

3:00:353:00:39

Westminster and won, and resulting

from this strike, Labour's Secretary

3:00:393:00:43

of State for employment and

productivity, the wonderful, the

3:00:433:00:47

marvellous Barbara Castle,

introduced the 1970 equal pay act,

3:00:473:00:51

and although we all know in this

House that the battle for equal pay

3:00:513:00:56

goes on, the Dagenham women

overturned decades of stalling on

3:00:563:01:00

Peya quality. And in Hull, as one of

the headscarf revolutionaries, Mary

3:01:003:01:09

Gillespie, said, they achieve more

in six weeks and politicians had in

3:01:093:01:12

years. Their campaign persuaded the

Government to adopt their demands in

3:01:123:01:17

the Fishermans Charter, which meant

full crewing of ships, radio

3:01:173:01:23

operators on board every ship,

improved weather forecasting, better

3:01:233:01:26

training, more safety equipment and

a mothership with medical facilities

3:01:263:01:33

to accompany the fleet. These

ordinary but extraordinary women,

3:01:333:01:42

led by Lily Bilocca from the docks,

saved thousands of men's lives by

3:01:423:01:46

their short campaign of direct

action. I'm thirdly, all of the

3:01:463:01:50

victories won by these women were

then skewered in the history books

3:01:503:01:53

for decades, and even written out.

The 1888 Bow match women, although

3:01:533:02:05

recognised at the time, or written

out of history. It was downplayed in

3:02:053:02:09

its significance. Many claim the

strike was led by a more

3:02:093:02:13

establishment figure, Annie Beasant,

who people would describe as the

3:02:133:02:19

Polly Toynbee of her day. And the

real strike leaders, Alice Francis,

3:02:193:02:24

Kate Slater, Mary discal, Jane

Wakeling and Eliza Martin were

3:02:243:02:28

finally published in a brilliant

book published in 2009 striking a

3:02:283:02:33

light. My honourable member for West

Ham first read out those names in

3:02:333:02:40

Parliament in 2013. The story of the

1968 Dagenham Ford women slipped

3:02:403:02:45

from view for decades until the 2010

film Madine Dagenham raised its

3:02:453:02:51

profile again. And it is a delight

that some of those original women

3:02:513:02:55

have now seen the recognition they

deserve in their lifetime. I want to

3:02:553:03:00

conclude by returning to the story

in Hull with the headscarf

3:03:003:03:03

revolutionaries. Events in 1968 in

Hull did fade from popular culture,

3:03:033:03:11

partly due to the post-cold war

decline of the fishing industry, but

3:03:113:03:16

also frankly because of very

outdated views of women in the city.

3:03:163:03:21

Lily Bilocca, who led the headscarf

revolutionaries, was sacked after

3:03:213:03:27

the campaign, and she was

blacklisted and told she would never

3:03:273:03:30

work in the fishing industry again.

She was out of work for two years,

3:03:303:03:34

eventually finding work in a

nightclub cloakroom. She died at the

3:03:343:03:38

age of 59 in 1988, and there was no

public recognition by the people or

3:03:383:03:45

the city of Hull of the pivotal role

she had played in helping to protect

3:03:453:03:51

the lives of and improve the safety

of trawlermen. So, despite that huge

3:03:513:03:56

victory for safer working

conditions, before today, Lily

3:03:563:04:01

Bilocca's name has only ever been

mentioned in this House once, on the

3:04:013:04:06

25th of March 1969, by James

Johnson, no relation, a local Hull

3:04:063:04:13

MP, and sadly, just in passing, no

proper recognition or tribute to

3:04:133:04:18

what she and those other women did,

so it was great to see that the

3:04:183:04:22

story of the headscarf

revolutionaries was brought back to

3:04:223:04:25

life in Brian Labrie's 2015 book The

Headscarf Revolutionaries, and more

3:04:253:04:35

recently, the BBC adaptation of his

book as we mark this year the 50th

3:04:353:04:39

anniversary of the triple trawler

disaster. Interestingly, Hull has

3:04:393:04:43

granted freedom of the city to many

notable citizens over the years, but

3:04:433:04:47

I have discovered that since 1885,

when this honour could first be

3:04:473:04:53

bestowed, out of 47 individual

recipients, only two have ever been

3:04:533:04:59

women. That's 45 men and only two

women. And regrettably for the

3:04:593:05:05

pioneering city of Hull, one of our

most famous daughters, Amy Johnson,

3:05:053:05:11

doesn't even make the list of

receiving freedom of the city. And

3:05:113:05:17

in fact, the first woman who

received freedom of the city of Hull

3:05:173:05:21

waited over a hundred years for that

to happen, so Janet soose men, a

3:05:213:05:26

wonderful anti-apartheid campaigner,

received the award in 1987, and then

3:05:263:05:32

we waited another 30 years before

Jean Bishop, who is a lady in her

3:05:323:05:39

90s who has raised over £100,000 per

Age UK, was given the honour of the

3:05:393:05:46

freedom of the city just at the end

of last year. So today, along with

3:05:463:05:52

the other two Hull MPs, I call upon

Hull City Council to honour the

3:05:523:05:58

leading women of the hassle road

women's committee by making them all

3:05:583:06:00

free women of Hull. 50 years after

that triple trawler disaster, Hull

3:06:003:06:09

needs to be properly recognised,

properly recognise these women. We

3:06:093:06:13

have wonderful theatre plays, murals

for the women in the city, but we

3:06:133:06:17

need to make sure that they get the

tribute they really deserve. And as

3:06:173:06:22

the headscarf revolutionaries

achieve changes in both locally in

3:06:223:06:26

the fishing industry but nationally

in terms of health and safety

3:06:263:06:31

practice, they should also I believe

be recognised nationally, too. And

3:06:313:06:36

that's why all three Hull MPs are

backing Ian Cuthbert's campaign for

3:06:363:06:39

Yvonne Blenkinsop, sadly the only

surviving member of the headscarf

3:06:393:06:45

revolutionaries, to receive an

honour. It's just not on for these

3:06:453:06:51

wonderful heroines from Hull to be

overlooked any longer, and in Lily

3:06:513:06:59

Bilocca's own words, enough is

enough. Time to act now.

Thank you,

3:06:593:07:08

Madam Deputy Speaker. And I'm very

grateful to be called to speak in

3:07:083:07:12

today's debate, and it's a pleasure

to follow the honourable lady, the

3:07:123:07:17

member of the Kingston upon Hull

North and to hear about the work

3:07:173:07:20

that very ordinary women can do in

changing the world. It is a

3:07:203:07:24

privilege to join the right

honourable members in celebrating

3:07:243:07:27

the International Women's Day, the

first of which were celebrated in

3:07:273:07:30

1911, and so I'd like to start by

reflecting on the progress in

3:07:303:07:36

opportunities for women across the

United Kingdom since then.

3:07:363:07:45

Not only did this give some women

the vote in a Parliamentary election

3:07:453:07:48

for the first time, but it enabled

Nancy Astor to become the first

3:07:483:07:52

woman to take her seat in this House

18 months later. This goes to show

3:07:523:07:58

that even 100 years ago, when

opportunities are opened up to

3:07:583:08:01

women, they take them and they

succeed.

3:08:013:08:07

From then, Madame Deputy Speaker

this opened up a range of possible

3:08:073:08:10

for women. From the first female

Cabinet Minister in 1929 to our

3:08:103:08:16

first female Prime Minister Margaret

Thatcher in 1979. To the first

3:08:163:08:20

female speaker in 1992.

Shoufr achievements are to be

3:08:203:08:26

celebrated, the fact is there are

still cabinet positions that have

3:08:263:08:31

never been held by a woman and this

shows progress is still needed. When

3:08:313:08:36

eI was elected in 2015 I became the

445th woman the take my seat in this

3:08:363:08:41

house. But I would like to welcome

the fact since we celebrated

3:08:413:08:45

International Women's Day last year,

the number of female MPs has risen

3:08:453:08:49

yet further to a record 208, almost

one third of this place. The ratio

3:08:493:08:55

of female representation here is

often compared with Parliaments

3:08:553:08:58

round the world, but I believe it is

worthy of note that last year's

3:08:583:09:03

general election saw this House

overtake Germany's Parliament in the

3:09:033:09:07

representation of women. I am

honoured to be the second woman to

3:09:073:09:11

represent Cheadle, I would like to

take this opportunity to recognise

3:09:113:09:16

Patsy Carl on the who in 2001 became

the first woman to represent

3:09:163:09:20

Cheadle. Even though it is 13 year

since she passed away she is still

3:09:203:09:24

mention on the doorstep an

remembered for her hard work.

3:09:243:09:28

At a local level women in councils

up and down the country do a great

3:09:283:09:33

job and are inspirational, there are

inspirational role models to others,

3:09:333:09:37

I would like to note the wonderful

example set by councillor Linda

3:09:373:09:44

Holt. She has represented Bramhall

for ten years and used her time this

3:09:443:09:49

year as mayor, to support a variety

of causes. Indeed she began serving

3:09:493:09:58

is as board member of the plaza

before becoming a local councillor

3:09:583:10:03

and was delighted the Prime Minister

was able to visit the theatre and

3:10:033:10:07

meet some of the dedicated

volunteers who support and sustain

3:10:073:10:13

this vital community asset.

Councillor Holt would be the first

3:10:133:10:16

to acknowledge that she is

privileged to enjoy the support of

3:10:163:10:20

brilliant female councillor, in her

area, such as Lisa Walker and

3:10:203:10:27

councillor Alana Vine who are all

three Bramhall councillor, as a

3:10:273:10:32

former councillor myself and a

member of the Select Committee I

3:10:323:10:34

know how important is it to have a

strong representation in local

3:10:343:10:38

councils is across the country.

I warmly welcome the progress of

3:10:383:10:42

recent years which has resulted in

almost one third of local

3:10:423:10:46

councillors across the UK being

women. Sadly, however, there remains

3:10:463:10:50

more to be done. To achieve equal

numbers of male and female

3:10:503:10:56

councillor, 3028 more women will

need to be elected, an increase of

3:10:563:11:01

over 50%. The present rate of

progress this will take about 68

3:11:013:11:05

years. Unfortunately, we face an

even greater task with respect to

3:11:053:11:10

council leadership. Just 17% of

council leaders are women. And

3:11:103:11:17

the new mayoral combined authority

boards only 4% of constituent

3:11:173:11:19

members are women and all six are

led by men. Indeed, in Greater

3:11:193:11:27

Manchester, all 11 cabinet members

of the Greater Manchester combined

3:11:273:11:31

authority board are men. This is

particularly disappointing, when I

3:11:313:11:34

reflect on the facts that 62 Nelson

Street Manchester was the birthplace

3:11:343:11:40

of the suffragette movement and is

today home to the Pankhurst centre.

3:11:403:11:45

This was the home of Emmeline

Pankhurst and her family who led the

3:11:453:11:48

campaign for votes for women and is

the place where the first meeting of

3:11:483:11:52

the women's social and political

union was held.

3:11:523:11:58

During last year's debate members

highlighted the perennial problem of

3:11:583:12:03

male dominance in stem subject,

science, technology, engineer and

3:12:033:12:07

maths. And subsequently, in the jobs

market.

3:12:073:12:11

I am sure honourable and right

honourable members were delighted

3:12:113:12:17

note the number of women graduates

in core stem subjects has risen.

3:12:173:12:23

They are talented individual,

qualified to take up exciting

3:12:233:12:28

opportunities.

However, due to more rapid growth in

3:12:283:12:35

the number of men graduates in these

areas the per-Seb Tang of graduates

3:12:353:12:40

are women dropped slightly from 25%

to 24. So there is still work to be

3:12:403:12:44

done.

Not only do we need more girls

3:12:443:12:48

studying stem subjects know, we need

more women with stem qualification

3:12:483:12:52

becoming teachers to inspire the

next generation of girls. Women like

3:12:523:12:57

Jo Lowe. Head teacher of kings way

school who went into education from

3:12:573:13:03

engineering and inspires her

students, and I was, as a result of

3:13:033:13:06

her inspiration I was delighted to

be able to present Kingsway school

3:13:063:13:10

with an award for engineering

excellence last year, only one of a

3:13:103:13:15

handful of schools to receive such

an award. I agree with Alan Jones

3:13:153:13:20

the head of the girls school

association that girls can be

3:13:203:13:23

encouraged to think like a scientist

in the right environment and through

3:13:233:13:27

exposure to scientific roles, in his

words we are dealing with centuries

3:13:273:13:31

of gender bias and what parents

think and say without realising it

3:13:313:13:38

does influence children's

expectations of themselves, I

3:13:383:13:41

believe however while progress is

undoubtedly still needed in so many

3:13:413:13:45

areas we have a hauj amount to be

proud of, from the -- huge, from the

3:13:453:13:50

past 12 months ale lope. Since last

year's International Women's Day we

3:13:503:13:54

have witnessed the appointment of

the first ever President of the

3:13:543:14:00

Supreme Court and of the police

force. Women have enjoys similar

3:14:003:14:06

progress in the armed force, the

first female army officers

3:14:063:14:10

commissioned into close combat

regiment and last September saw the

3:14:103:14:12

RAF lift their ban on women serving

in close combat roles. This easy are

3:14:123:14:18

just a few examples, key examples of

women flourishing in roles once the

3:14:183:14:24

preserve of men and those -- bodes

well for the future. Before I

3:14:243:14:27

conclude I would like to mention

however, an initiative which is

3:14:273:14:31

being carried are out in Stockport,

in my own borough where they are

3:14:313:14:37

marking the 100th anniversary of

women gaining the vote by naming the

3:14:373:14:43

town's newest public area

suffragette square. It comes after

3:14:433:14:49

the borough asked the public for a

new name, the panel decided on it to

3:14:493:14:56

celebrate the achievements of four

stock port women.

3:14:563:15:03

They were all stocked for women and

were nominated by the member of the

3:15:033:15:08

public in light of the

commemoration, I firmly believe that

3:15:083:15:13

while progress is still needed, we

really must move on, and welcome all

3:15:133:15:19

women who have axxxx of achievement

and help them come forward and to be

3:15:193:15:23

recognised for all the work they do.

It is a a pleasure to follow the

3:15:233:15:32

honourable member for Cheadle, and

it is also my pleasure to take part

3:15:323:15:37

in this debate on International

Women's Day. As a proud member of

3:15:373:15:40

the Labour Party, and in a

Parliament where 32% of MPs are

3:15:403:15:45

women, the majority of them, 57% of

those women coming from my own

3:15:453:15:49

party, we still have work to do, to

achieve true equality with regard to

3:15:493:15:55

gender representation, but the

Labour Party is certainly heading in

3:15:553:15:58

the right direction. And I am

pleased to see that there have been

3:15:583:16:03

and still are some male MP nears the

chamber, and I have enjoyed their

3:16:033:16:11

contributions, particularly the

member for Boston and steppingness

3:16:113:16:16

who is -- Skegness who is no longer

in his praises. International

3:16:163:16:19

Women's Day is for everyone to

celebrate. It is important that men

3:16:193:16:25

have an understanding of inequality

in our society. I welcome their

3:16:253:16:27

thoughts and would not dream of aing

any one of them of man Splaining.

3:16:273:16:42

I think would my honourable friend,

thank you for allowing me to

3:16:423:16:46

intervene. Would she not agree it is

the collective responsibility of

3:16:463:16:50

all, not just women but men also to

ensure sure we have equality in all

3:16:503:16:56

senses, of the word, and with regard

to Parliament, she is very rightly

3:16:563:17:02

said while you know within the

Labour Party we have managed to get

3:17:023:17:05

45% of our Parliamentary Labour

Party as which, to have only 32%

3:17:053:17:10

within our Parliament as women, is

just not good enough.

3:17:103:17:16

I thank him for that point which he

made very well and he is absolutely

3:17:163:17:19

right. It is all our collective

responsibility. 32% is not good

3:17:193:17:25

enough, we need to look at other

equality representations as well as

3:17:253:17:29

just gender ambulance, so he makes a

very good point, which in no way

3:17:293:17:37

would I ever describe Azman

splaining. It was today

3:17:373:17:43

heartbreaking to hear my honourable

friend the member for Birmingham

3:17:433:17:46

Yardley recite the names of all

those women who have died at the

3:17:463:17:51

hands of men. One of them, Linda

Parker was from my own constituency

3:17:513:17:57

of hay wood and Middleton. My heart

goes out to her friends, family,

3:17:573:18:03

children, and grandchildren. But I

dream of a future International

3:18:033:18:08

Women's Day when my right honourable

friend no longer has a list of

3:18:083:18:12

murdered women to recite and that

figure of two women, murdered every

3:18:123:18:16

week, by a current or former

partner, has become history due to

3:18:163:18:24

better investment in rim's refuge,

women's safety and a complete change

3:18:243:18:28

in attitudes.

And today is International Women's

3:18:283:18:32

Day. It was my pleasure yesterday to

attend a lawn of a report

3:18:323:18:38

commissioned by the all party

Parliamentary group on population,

3:18:383:18:43

development and reproductive health,

of which I am an active member. The

3:18:433:18:53

report entitled Who Decides We Trust

Women concerns is abortion in the

3:18:533:18:58

developing world and the UK. I would

like to pay tribute to the tireless

3:18:583:19:04

work of Baroness Jenny Tonge who has

a retired GP knows her subject and

3:19:043:19:11

kennel strays the value --

demonstrates the value of experts.

3:19:113:19:15

The report makes the important

points that one in four pregnancies

3:19:153:19:21

worldwide have ended in an abortion

in 2010-2014. And while abortion

3:19:213:19:27

rates have been declining, in the

developed world since 1990, the rate

3:19:273:19:33

in developing countries has remained

fairly constant.

3:19:333:19:38

An estimated 56 million abortions

occur worldwide each year and

3:19:383:19:43

three-quarters of these take place

among married women. Significantly,

3:19:433:19:48

abortion rates are roughly the same

in countries where abortion is

3:19:483:19:53

legally restricted, as in countries

where it is liberally available.

3:19:533:19:59

Restrictive abortion laws do not

prevent women from seeking abortion.

3:19:593:20:04

They only endanger women's health

and lives as women seek unsafe

3:20:043:20:09

procedures. And there is a clear

correlation between restrictive

3:20:093:20:14

abortion law, and higher rates of

maternal morbidity and mortality.

3:20:143:20:21

In the group of countries where

abortion is completely banned, or

3:20:213:20:27

allowed in very narrow

circumstances, three out of four

3:20:273:20:30

abortions are unsafe. Lack of money

prevents women and girls from

3:20:303:20:35

accessing safe boarion in the

private sector and in addition, the

3:20:353:20:39

fear of being reported to the police

prevents women and girls from

3:20:393:20:43

seeking medical attention when they

are faced with life-threatening

3:20:433:20:48

complications due to unsafe

abortion. The report makes the

3:20:483:20:52

important point that more family

planning will reduce abortion

3:20:523:20:56

worldwide. Family planning is one of

the most cost effective strategies

3:20:563:21:01

to prevent maternal deaths an

suffering from unsafe abortion. And

3:21:013:21:06

indeed the lowest rates of abortion

in the world can be found in Germany

3:21:063:21:11

and Switzerland, where family

planning is widely and easily

3:21:113:21:15

available. Yet only last week, I

heard from Marie Stopes

3:21:153:21:21

international due to President

Trump's global gag, which blocks US

3:21:213:21:25

funds to any organisation involved

in abortion advice and care

3:21:253:21:30

overseas, that their funding has

been drastically cut. Severely

3:21:303:21:36

restricting their ability to provide

contraceptive services to girls in

3:21:363:21:39

the developing world. The

international campaign she decides

3:21:393:21:44

says that every girl and every woman

has the right to do what she chooses

3:21:443:21:48

with her body. She must have access

to education and information about

3:21:483:21:55

her body and her options modern

contraception and safe abortion S

3:21:553:21:59

and it is only when women are in

control of their own fertility that

3:21:593:22:04

they have control over their own

lives.

3:22:043:22:11

Right I'm grateful to the very

thoughtful speech the honourable

3:22:113:22:15

lady is making, and she's absolutely

right. Those of us in many years

3:22:153:22:22

gone by March and took to the

streets to protect and to make sure

3:22:223:22:26

the 1967 abortion act was not in any

way interfered with did that because

3:22:263:22:32

we knew this hugely important points

she makes. It's not because we want

3:22:323:22:39

people have terminations, but it is

all about women having a right of

3:22:393:22:42

control over their bodies, which is

about empowerment, the lack of

3:22:423:22:45

prejudice, their freedom and a lack

of discrimination as well.

I thank

3:22:453:22:54

the honourable lady for that

intervention. She makes an excellent

3:22:543:22:59

point. We have to allow women the

world over to control their own

3:22:593:23:02

bodies and therefore their own

lives, so thank you. But there is

3:23:023:23:08

still much work to be done both

nationally and internationally. And

3:23:083:23:16

today an International Women's Day I

call upon our female Prime Minister

3:23:163:23:19

to call upon President Trump to

reverse the global gagging order.

3:23:193:23:24

They woman Prime Minister prepared

to stand up for women around the

3:23:243:23:26

world would do this.

It's wonderful

to see the number of men in the

3:23:263:23:39

chamber for this debate grow

exponentially as we continue, in

3:23:393:23:44

whatever format it takes. I want in

my contribution today to honour,

3:23:443:23:51

because so many members of made

fantastic speeches, talking about

3:23:513:23:54

the past and what we have achieved,

but to an international women's day

3:23:543:23:59

in the way that I feel is best done.

I consider International Women's Day

3:23:593:24:04

to be feminist Christmas, it is

about what goodies, what actions are

3:24:043:24:07

coming, and the reason I want to

talk about that is because I think

3:24:073:24:11

we need to learn from what the

suffragettes Tron did all of us,

3:24:113:24:14

which is that it is deeds, not

words, that make a difference. They

3:24:143:24:19

knew. They knew even when there were

men who claim to care for women's

3:24:193:24:23

rights in the future of women that

it wasn't enough to have them speak

3:24:233:24:26

for them, that the true deed was to

have true and equal representation.

3:24:263:24:32

It is a lesson we must learn today

as we continue looking at the

3:24:323:24:36

inequalities of our world, but it is

simply not enough to pay lip to

3:24:363:24:41

inequality. It is not enough just to

March, to use the hashtag. You can

3:24:413:24:48

now buy plenty of T-shirts that say

female equals future. We will only

3:24:483:24:54

have a more equal future when we

have deeds, when we tackle the

3:24:543:24:59

barriers of discrimination, the

inequality that holds 51% of our

3:24:593:25:02

population back. And so in being

perhaps the Grinch at this feminist

3:25:023:25:10

Christmas, I am inspired by Mary

Wollstonecraft, who said my own sex

3:25:103:25:14

I hope will excuse me if I treat

them like rational creatures instead

3:25:143:25:17

of fluttering their fascinating

graces and viewing them as if they

3:25:173:25:21

are in a state of perpetual

childhood, unable to stand alone.

3:25:213:25:24

Because when we view the world as it

is, when we are rational creatures,

3:25:243:25:29

we see that if the call is to push

for progress, we are not making the

3:25:293:25:35

progress that we think we are. And

the pace of progress is agonisingly

3:25:353:25:38

slow. We are celebrating 100 years

of someone in getting the vote. We

3:25:383:25:43

talk today about the fact we now

achieved 30% of women in this

3:25:433:25:51

Parliament. A whole extra 12 women

were elected at the last general

3:25:513:25:55

election. If we carry all of this

trajectory, we will need another 14

3:25:553:25:59

general elections to achieve parity.

I know we have been having elections

3:25:593:26:04

more frequently than we used to! But

I think we need more appropriate

3:26:043:26:08

action. And it isn't just about

national government, where we fail

3:26:083:26:12

to me the progress we want. The

Member for Cheadle rightly pointed

3:26:123:26:17

out about progress in local

government. I am proud that we have

3:26:173:26:21

one of the few female leaders and

local government in my borough,

3:26:213:26:25

Claire Coghill, the new leader of

Waltham Forest Council, the first

3:26:253:26:31

woman elected, because only 17% of

council leaders in this country are

3:26:313:26:34

women. The numbers of women we would

need to get to standard 12,000 to

3:26:343:26:41

try to achieve the 3000 extra that

we need to get to get parity in

3:26:413:26:45

local government. And we know this

country continues to file what I

3:26:453:26:51

call the Piers Morgan test, because

this morning he tweeted that because

3:26:513:26:54

we had six women in positions of

responsibility in this country, the

3:26:543:26:57

country is run by women, job done,

we can all go home. The point is,

3:26:573:27:02

these women are still too often the

exception rather than the rule, and

3:27:023:27:07

that is why we can name them. True

equality will come because there are

3:27:073:27:12

so many women from different

backgrounds in our society that it

3:27:123:27:14

is just the norm. And the truth is

we are not anywhere near the norm.

3:27:143:27:21

Only 11% of surgeons in this country

are women. It will take a hundred

3:27:213:27:27

years to achieve parity. 24% of

judges. Why do we never hear all of

3:27:273:27:30

this? I would wager it's because

only 34% of people in senior roles

3:27:303:27:35

in the press are women. Too often we

tell ourselves because we see one

3:27:353:27:40

woman there must be more behind

them, but the honest truth is, this

3:27:403:27:44

country is still agonisingly behind

where it needs to be to realise the

3:27:443:27:48

potential of all of its people. And

we see that not least in the

3:27:483:27:52

arguments we are having about equal

and indeed fair pay, because the

3:27:523:27:55

equal pay legislation is older than

me, but we still have to explain to

3:27:553:28:00

the young women coming into our

workforce that we have a 14% gap,

3:28:003:28:04

and yet it is growing for their

generation. It is not just about

3:28:043:28:09

women having children. Women are

just as often as men for pay rises,

3:28:093:28:16

but they are less likely to get

them. We start a lower salaries of

3:28:163:28:19

the inequality continues and is not

reduced. And what we are seeing now

3:28:193:28:24

is that companies facing the gender

pay gap reporting are hiding behind

3:28:243:28:28

each other. I welcome that

legislation. We all fought for it

3:28:283:28:31

and we can see the cleansing effect

it is having, but we know that only

3:28:313:28:36

1200 out of the 9000 companies have

so far declared their data, and we

3:28:363:28:40

know the deadline is fast

approaching. And that tells us that

3:28:403:28:43

plenty of companies are waiting

until the very end, hoping they can

3:28:433:28:46

find cover in each other. Letters

give a strong message today an

3:28:463:28:51

International Women's Day. It

doesn't matter if you publish today

3:28:513:28:54

or all together, we will look at

every single set of data and we will

3:28:543:28:57

hold every single company to account

when they don't offer equal pay.

3:28:573:29:03

We've also as a house got to speak

up for the right to talk about equal

3:29:033:29:07

pay, because as we've seen with the

BBC, when women start asking

3:29:073:29:11

questions, they get shut down. It is

a fundamental human right, freedom

3:29:113:29:16

of speech in your workplace. The

legislation relies on the idea that

3:29:163:29:20

we can start to have these

conversations. We must not give an

3:29:203:29:23

inch on the idea that it is

acceptable for managers to tell

3:29:233:29:26

employees that if they start asking

those questions they will be

3:29:263:29:30

labelled difficult, that it might

harm their chances of promotion.

3:29:303:29:34

What we might call the John Humphrys

Test... I will happily give way.

I'm

3:29:343:29:38

very grateful to the honourable lady

forgiving way. Would she agree with

3:29:383:29:42

me that one of the problems that we

have is the fact that we don't have

3:29:423:29:45

as many trade unions operating in as

many workplaces? I used to be the

3:29:453:29:49

mother of the chapel when I worked

in Essential TV, which was a very

3:29:493:29:53

long time ago, and as a shop

steward, one of the things you do is

3:29:533:29:57

you act on behalf of all your

members when sometimes they are

3:29:573:30:00

fearful of stepping up for the sort

of things that she rightly

3:30:003:30:03

identifies, and so if we had better

more Democratic more open trade

3:30:033:30:07

unions, that would go a long way to

advancing the cause of women.

I

3:30:073:30:12

completely agree with the Member for

Boxster, and if I should ever be

3:30:123:30:15

facing problems in their workplace,

I would certainly hope she would act

3:30:153:30:18

as shop steward for me! Because I

know she would fight the good fight.

3:30:183:30:25

But she's absolutely right. It is

about representation and voice, and

3:30:253:30:29

we see the impact of not having that

voice, and it is not just about

3:30:293:30:33

gender. It is also about ethnicity.

We know what we talk about

3:30:333:30:38

inequality and pay that it is our

sister from the black and ethnic

3:30:383:30:40

minority community is that face even

higher differentials, and we are a

3:30:403:30:44

long way off as a country being able

to recognise how we tackle that, so

3:30:443:30:48

I welcome the initiative from the

shadow front bench saying it is not

3:30:483:30:50

enough to have the data, we need to

see what you were going to do about

3:30:503:30:54

it, because it is clear from the

data we have already seen of those

3:30:543:30:57

1200 companies just how far we have

to go. It is also not just about the

3:30:573:31:03

major companies. 62% of those people

earning less than the living wage

3:31:033:31:06

are women. It is about persistent

poverty pay and what that does to

3:31:063:31:11

families around this country. Little

wonder that one of the debates we

3:31:113:31:16

started to have in 2018 is about

period poverty, because all too

3:31:163:31:21

often, women are trying to pick up

the pieces of a failing economy in

3:31:213:31:26

an institutionally unequal society.

What does that mean? It means that

3:31:263:31:30

women themselves often the ones

trying to make the difference, and

3:31:303:31:35

it's the men who simply, like Piers

Morgan say, I have seen one of you,

3:31:353:31:39

so if one of you can do it, all of

you can do it. Nowhere more do we

3:31:393:31:45

see that the more we try to tackle

violence against women. The might of

3:31:453:31:49

mad -- the writer Margaret Atwood,

men are afraid women will laugh at

3:31:493:31:53

them. Women are afraid that men will

kill them. As my honourable friend

3:31:533:31:57

the Member for Yardley set out so

clearly, that is still the challenge

3:31:573:32:01

for us in our society. Violence

against is endemic. The Me Too

3:32:013:32:10

movement has begun a conversation

about something that has been part

3:32:103:32:14

of our society for generations, and

it has not been the change yet that

3:32:143:32:18

we know we need to break, the real

progress. When 85,000 women report

3:32:183:32:23

being rated 400,000 report sexual

assault, we know that is just the

3:32:233:32:26

tip of the iceberg. The 12,000

honour -based violence crimes. The

3:32:263:32:31

135,000 women and girls living with

female genital mutilation. Only 15%

3:32:313:32:38

of these crimes get reported, that

is not about the women but the

3:32:383:32:43

society we are right now and the

failure that we are making to

3:32:433:32:45

understand these crimes and be able

not just to prosecute them but to

3:32:453:32:49

support those people affected by

them. As part of that, I very much

3:32:493:32:54

welcome the Government's commitment

to ratifying the Istanbul

3:32:543:32:59

convention, but if one of the things

I want to do today is to hold the

3:32:593:33:02

Government to account for deeds not

words. If we're going to ratify the

3:33:023:33:07

Istanbul convention, we have to

write a wonk standing wrong -- write

3:33:073:33:12

a long standing wrong. Women's

reproductive rights are human

3:33:123:33:19

rights. And I want to put on record

my gratitude to every single one of

3:33:193:33:24

the parliamentarians to have signed

a letter through women and equality

3:33:243:33:30

is calling faster give equal access

to abortion for women in Northern

3:33:303:33:34

Ireland. They may say, a year ago we

decided to fund helping women from

3:33:343:33:41

Northern Ireland to be able to

travel to England, and 600 women

3:33:413:33:45

have taken part in that scheme.

Clearly there is a demand. But

3:33:453:33:48

little wonder that United Nations

conventions say to us very clearly

3:33:483:33:54

that how we treat Northern Ireland

women by making them travel and by

3:33:543:33:57

putting restriction on their access

to a basic human right is degrading

3:33:573:34:01

and inhuman, that we cannot be

called to account to ratify that

3:34:013:34:06

Istanbul convention unless we put

that right, because it is he

3:34:063:34:11

inhuman. Because not everybody can

travel. To treat women in the one

3:34:113:34:15

part of the United Kingdom

differently. The women who cannot

3:34:153:34:18

travel, the women in coercive

relationships, the women who have

3:34:183:34:22

small children, the women who are

undocumented. We cannot leave this

3:34:223:34:25

to chance. And we cannot say that

because we can give you some ability

3:34:253:34:31

to travel, that means you've got

equal access. We cannot let whatever

3:34:313:34:36

deal the Government may have needed

to do with the DUP allow us to get

3:34:363:34:39

away with arguing that women's

rights are devolved, especially when

3:34:393:34:44

the Government has committed to

giving us a vote on same-sex

3:34:443:34:49

marriage. Because equality cannot be

selective. It is right that people

3:34:493:34:53

should be above the love who they

love and recall that in the way they

3:34:533:34:56

want to. And it is right that women

should be given control over their

3:34:563:35:00

bodies, not to be forced to continue

an unwanted pregnancy. So I say to

3:35:003:35:07

the Ministers. It is there in the

Istanbul convention. We are treating

3:35:073:35:11

citizens of this nation with

contempt and treating them to what

3:35:113:35:17

the UN called the grading. I ask, if

we are not going to have a free vote

3:35:173:35:23

in the domestic violence Bill which

are supposed to be ratified the

3:35:233:35:26

convention, then when we'll we have

the same parity? When will we see a

3:35:263:35:30

quality is how it truly is, about

equality? We want to show solidarity

3:35:303:35:37

with our Northern are friends and

their rights to marry who they want

3:35:373:35:40

and we should show solidarity with

our Northern Ireland sisters in

3:35:403:35:45

giving them control back over their

bodies. And I also want to talk

3:35:453:35:48

about the global gag rule, but I

would go further. An International

3:35:483:35:52

Women's Day, the deed that we need

is for this Government to commit to

3:35:523:35:56

contributing to the She Decides

fund, because it is one thing to

3:35:563:35:59

face Donald Trump at his decision to

withdraw that funding, and we know

3:35:593:36:02

that within the last year, women

have died because they have not been

3:36:023:36:05

able to access maternal health care

because of the funding cut he has

3:36:053:36:10

made to stop abortion services. It

is another thing when the country

3:36:103:36:14

step up to the plate and say that we

will bridge the gap that this

3:36:143:36:17

country has shied away from being

part of that. It's not just about

3:36:173:36:22

the money. It's about the message of

solidarity that it sends for us to

3:36:223:36:25

be part of the She Decides fund, so

I call on the Government not simply

3:36:253:36:31

to tell Donald Trump years wrong to

cut the global gag fund, but also to

3:36:313:36:34

put our money where our marching is

on stand with our sisters around the

3:36:343:36:38

world who need those services that

his money has cut. We have also

3:36:383:36:42

today had the wonderful refugee

women in committee room ten, and I

3:36:423:36:48

hope members will go up and join

them, that they are singing for

3:36:483:36:52

their sisters who are in Yarl's

Wood. In 2018, we are not making the

3:36:523:36:58

progress we think we are one we lock

up women who happen the victims of

3:36:583:37:00

violent and sexual abuse and torture

in conflict, yet that is exactly

3:37:003:37:05

what we are doing in Yarl's Wood.

75% of the women in Yarl's Wood then

3:37:053:37:09

set free sometimes to be detained

again, set free again. It is a

3:37:093:37:13

system that is broken and expensive,

and it enshrines inequality in how

3:37:133:37:17

we treat some of the most vulnerable

women in our society, and I urge

3:37:173:37:22

Ministers to rethink their

determination that this is the only

3:37:223:37:24

way to manage our immigration

system.

3:37:243:37:29

The lessons I take like many of us

are from your constituents. One is

3:37:303:37:37

from Beryl Swaine, the first woman

to compete in the Isle of Man

3:37:373:37:41

motorbike racing, the men were so

horrified they changed the weight

3:37:413:37:44

categories to stop women taking part

and stop them until 1978. The first

3:37:443:37:53

ever Asian female police officer in

the world. Proudly served

3:37:533:37:58

Walthamstow, murdered by her husband

in 1973 because he disapproved of

3:37:583:38:02

her job. And what that tells us is

that the backlash, the power, the

3:38:023:38:10

abuse, the violence, will always

mutate. We have to keep fighting the

3:38:103:38:14

patriarchy, that is why I am so

proud to see so many men here and

3:38:143:38:19

the member for Boston and Skegness

here, in creating the deeds, men

3:38:193:38:24

have a vital role to play. As we

have all tried to remind Piers

3:38:243:38:28

Morgan, this is not all men we think

are violent. It is about standing up

3:38:283:38:32

for the reputation of men and the

better world that mend and worming

3:38:323:38:38

together as equal we can create.

With ask you to be allies and show

3:38:383:38:45

solidarity with. As the member for

Putney said it is the $28 trillion I

3:38:453:38:53

would create in growth to have an

eEngland and Wales qualm employment

3:38:533:38:57

of men and women that we could

benefit from. But that is why I is a

3:38:573:39:00

to men in this chamber and the men

many Britain, don't leave it to the

3:39:003:39:05

women of Britain to resolve these

problems. Don't expect us to have to

3:39:053:39:10

lead this fight on our own, to come

up with the deeds, don't tell us you

3:39:103:39:14

don't think quotas work and you

don't think turning misogyny into a

3:39:143:39:18

hate crime is a good thing. Tell us

what you will do to create that

3:39:183:39:22

equal society, because we all have a

responsibility to come up with

3:39:223:39:26

deeds, not words.

I will end with the words of own, to

3:39:263:39:30

come up with the deeds, don't tell

us you don't think quotas work and

3:39:303:39:33

you don't think turning misogyny

into a hate crime is a good thing.

3:39:333:39:36

Tell us what you will do to create

that equal society, because we all

3:39:363:39:38

have a responsibility to come up

with deeds, not words.

3:39:383:39:40

I will end with the words of

Millicent Fawcett, because she said

3:39:403:39:43

"What draws men and women together

is stronger than the brutality and

3:39:433:39:45

tyranny which drives them apart." I

will champion the contribution of

3:39:453:39:47

every single one of my

constituencies male and female, to

3:39:473:39:49

this country, but I know only a

truly equal society will realise

3:39:493:39:52

that for both. I am calling on every

man and woman in this country on

3:39:523:39:55

International Women's Day, to make

sure that we don't just have one day

3:39:553:39:57

of fighting for that better world,

but 365 days of fighting for that

3:39:573:40:03

better world. Truly, it is worth it

for all of us.

3:40:033:40:09

It is an honour to follow the member

for Walthamstow who has such a

3:40:093:40:15

fantastic record for standing up for

women in this place and to make a

3:40:153:40:19

comment on her mention of Mary

Wollaston craft and I understand

3:40:193:40:22

that due to the campaigning of her

and a number of other members across

3:40:223:40:27

all parts of this chamber, that

there is now a plan to have a statue

3:40:273:40:34

to Mary Wollaston craft so well done

for putting on record the proud

3:40:343:40:38

history of that woman in our

tradition of freedom and equality.

3:40:383:40:46

With the kindness of the House could

I draw the attention to another

3:40:463:40:52

great hero, most the most important

backbench member, Eleanor raft bone.

3:40:523:40:57

On all fronts was a towering figure

and there is an EDM saying we should

3:40:573:41:04

name a committee room of the House

after her, and that is the name in

3:41:043:41:10

the name of right honourable friend

the member for Peckham and something

3:41:103:41:14

else, in London. But it would be

compared with the speech we have

3:41:143:41:20

just heard, naming a committee room

is small but it is about keeping

3:41:203:41:24

memories alive of people in their

own lifetimes who made a real

3:41:243:41:28

megadifference.

I couldn't agree more with the

3:41:283:41:33

honourable member and also with the

name of the member who that EDM is

3:41:333:41:38

in because she has done such amazing

work here in this place, I read her

3:41:383:41:42

book when it was hot off the press

and it was a fantastic book and I

3:41:423:41:47

also really enjoyed reading the book

of the member for Birmingham Yardley

3:41:473:41:51

as well, who has found time to write

a book as well as being an MP and

3:41:513:41:58

both of those story, the history,

the records remind us about the

3:41:583:42:04

struggles because so much appears in

politics just to happen. But what we

3:42:043:42:07

understand in this place is just how

hard some of the struggles are, and

3:42:073:42:13

while I am mentioning the member for

Birmingham Yardley, could I put on

3:42:133:42:17

record my thanks that she mentioned

the woman who lost her life in

3:42:173:42:23

Finsbury Park on the border of

Hackney Haringey and Islington and

3:42:233:42:28

who was my constituent, and how much

we think of her family, because

3:42:283:42:35

tragically she did lose her life in

a terrible way, and I think that

3:42:353:42:39

must be terrible for parents, you

know, brothers and sisters and so on

3:42:393:42:44

who not only live abroad but know

that that young woman lost her life

3:42:443:42:49

in a violent way. Mr Deputy Speaker

could it put on record that the seat

3:42:493:42:55

of Hornsey in Wood Green has been

held by women since 1997 and of

3:42:553:43:00

course many members here will

remember Lynn President Stoner who

3:43:003:43:03

is now in the house and continues

her campaigning for women and the

3:43:033:43:08

honourable member Barbara Roche, I

am sure the Deputy Speaker remembers

3:43:083:43:13

who represented Hornsey from 1997 on

wards and won that seat from a Tory

3:43:133:43:19

member, and therefore is very famous

in Hornsey and Wood Green, a

3:43:193:43:23

barrister and a great advocate for

newly arrived communities and as

3:43:233:43:27

chair of the Metropolitan Police

housing association was a great

3:43:273:43:31

advocate for the cause of affordable

housing which goes to the heart of

3:43:313:43:35

the housing crisis, which of course

has worsened since her time as a

3:43:353:43:40

member of Parliament. And of course

it is fantastic also to be giving

3:43:403:43:43

this speech here when just behind me

is the lovely plaque which the House

3:43:433:43:49

had put in for Jo Cox MPer or dear

friend who must not be forgotten. He

3:43:493:43:54

would have been making an important

speech as well, we would all have

3:43:543:43:59

been listening to that because she

was extremely eloquent in the

3:43:593:44:02

speeches she gave in House.

Mr

Without making that council of

3:44:023:44:07

despair, I have talked about a lot

of sad things in the last couple of

3:44:073:44:10

minute, I wanted to just put on

record the hundred years since the

3:44:103:44:18

vote for certain women, for suffrage

for women and the way it was

3:44:183:44:22

beautifully described in the film

Sarah Gavron produced. The family

3:44:223:44:26

being a famous family in Hornsey and

Wood Green. Nicky Gavron the Mayor

3:44:263:44:31

of London and still on the GLA and

her daughter Sarah who are both

3:44:313:44:37

great feminists and the work that

has been done recently in the drive

3:44:373:44:41

arts sector result of the terrible

scandals over Mr Weinstein and the

3:44:413:44:47

lurid tales which have come out

since it was uncovered, just the

3:44:473:44:53

extent of sex abuse within that

industry, and I am wearing today the

3:44:533:44:59

badge which was given to me by

migrate aunt who ran the Italia

3:44:593:45:06

Conti school in London for many

years who passed way at 101 two

3:45:063:45:13

years ago. She gave me many badge

which is the actresses freedom

3:45:133:45:18

league, she knew some suffragettes,

in her time, and she made the case

3:45:183:45:25

that at the drama schools in those

days many youngsters, not just women

3:45:253:45:29

but young people as well, were put

on to the stage very talented

3:45:293:45:33

actors, but that the welfare of

children and young women on the

3:45:333:45:37

stage was not particularly well

regarded, they weren't looked after,

3:45:373:45:41

and often you would get these young

children, who loved dancing, acting

3:45:413:45:47

and so on, they would end up on the

statement in the West End and they

3:45:473:45:51

needed much better welfare and

protection, and it was Italia Conti

3:45:513:45:55

and others who actually introduced a

number of positive schemes about the

3:45:553:46:00

welfare of children, in the arts,

and I wonder if we had stuck a bit

3:46:003:46:05

more closely to some of those

schemes which forward thinking back

3:46:053:46:10

round 1900 to 1930 had there or into

the 60s and 70s we seem to have lost

3:46:103:46:17

our way slightly in the drive

industry sector, that needs to be

3:46:173:46:20

looked at again in the light of the

Weinstein tragedies. Very briefly,

3:46:203:46:26

Mr Deputy Speaker, the wonderful

thing about being at the end of the

3:46:263:46:29

debate one can enjoy listening to

others, and I was so pleased to hear

3:46:293:46:34

the member for Beth mam green and

Bowe talk about her experience, and

3:46:343:46:41

how Bangladesh was born out of

conflict as a country, and how she

3:46:413:46:45

managed to get across that feeling

that we all have in this House,

3:46:453:46:50

about the terrible sexual violence

in the Rohingya community and the

3:46:503:46:55

importance of highlighting what a

difficult subject to discuss in this

3:46:553:47:01

House, similarly, the honourable

member for warm ham stow talked

3:47:013:47:04

about the women in Yarl's Wood. I am

aware from speaking in the other

3:47:043:47:08

house with the experiences of women

prisoners not subject to immigration

3:47:083:47:13

detention but detained in our

prisons which often are not up to

3:47:133:47:17

scratch and who face very difficult

conditions indeed. I is fitting on

3:47:173:47:21

International Women's Day we

remember those women as well, and

3:47:213:47:24

that go through.

Mr Deputy Speaker, before I came

3:47:243:47:28

into the House this morning I was

Attwood side school. They have given

3:47:283:47:32

me some badges to pass on, and a

couple of those are, by the way this

3:47:323:47:37

school is fantastic. It is run by

two fantastic women. They job share

3:47:373:47:42

the post of head teacher, and it is

a miracle school, it was famous for

3:47:423:47:48

not being such a great school once

upon a time, now it is fantastic and

3:47:483:47:53

the favourite one I have, I will

give them to you shortly I is run

3:47:533:47:57

like a girl. Try to keep up.

I thought you might like that one.

3:47:573:48:03

But it was fantastic to see, so many

young women asking about politics

3:48:033:48:10

and wanting to become involved. And

you know, as the member for Kingston

3:48:103:48:14

on Hull talked about the trade union

culture, and I remember as a council

3:48:143:48:17

leader it was easier to protect the

rights of the binmen, than it was to

3:48:173:48:23

promote the rights of our dinner

lady diand others who worked in

3:48:233:48:27

traditionally female role, and I

couldn't get away without mentioned

3:48:273:48:31

Mary Turner who had her memorial

service in no less a place than St

3:48:313:48:36

Paul's cal. She broke every ceiling

and she was a huge inspiration to

3:48:363:48:40

many of us here -- Cathedral. And

her first Abdel Bari Atwanle was to

3:48:403:48:46

get rubber gloves so women did

haven't to do washing up without the

3:48:463:48:49

gloves. She said that was one of the

hardest battles but after that she

3:48:493:48:57

became quite battle-hardened.

-- her first battle.

3:48:573:49:04

On that point, I than her for giving

way. I think it is so important for

3:49:093:49:14

young women to have inspirational

role models in particular women from

3:49:143:49:22

ethnic might bety backgrounds, --

minority background. We had in my

3:49:223:49:31

constituency Lydia Simpsons the

First Lady may be of

3:49:313:49:36

African-American background. We

should celebrate them so they can

3:49:363:49:40

continue to inspire other, would she

agree with that?

I would indeed, and

3:49:403:49:46

could I mention the important

contribution which so many women

3:49:463:49:49

from all over the Commonwealth in

particular have made to our NHS over

3:49:493:49:54

the years, and the fact that we seep

even now importance of the workplace

3:49:543:49:59

in one of the debates we are having

about Brexit, about the workforce, I

3:49:593:50:04

was in the Whittington hospital

talking with staff about their

3:50:043:50:07

important roles, not just as

obstetricians or specialists but

3:50:073:50:11

even at the level of our cleaning

staff, and just the way that the NHS

3:50:113:50:16

does such a fantastic job at

promoting women, bringing them

3:50:163:50:20

through, but a truly equal workplace

where women and many women from

3:50:203:50:25

different backgrounds manage to get

to the top of our NHS. And could I

3:50:253:50:30

just conclude, Mr Deputy Speaker, as

I know that time is short, and

3:50:303:50:34

people are keen to get back to their

constituency, just to mention we had

3:50:343:50:40

a talk about equality in sport, and

it was a fantastic occasion when the

3:50:403:50:44

Arsenal Ladies were given freedom of

the borough back when gai won, in

3:50:443:50:48

2008, that was a favourite speech I

got to make Attenborough level, and

3:50:483:50:53

in conclusion, just to say I will be

handing the badges over to you so

3:50:533:50:59

that the girls Attwood side school

know you have those for the speaker

3:50:593:51:02

office and you can pass them round

the the others as well and just to

3:51:023:51:07

say what a fantastic debate this has

been. We haven't had anybody at the

3:51:073:51:14

back moaning. Whereas on previous

occasions, for example the Istanbul

3:51:143:51:19

convention we had to sort so of make

the case for having to have this

3:51:193:51:23

debate and it is lovely this time,

it was in Government time and that

3:51:233:51:27

we have got to an accepted level of

equality. Thank you.

3:51:273:51:36

Thank you Mr Deputy Speakering I am

delighted and proud to be making my

3:51:363:51:40

debut at this despatch box. To close

this debate on behalf of Her

3:51:403:51:45

Majesty's opposition. We have heard

how we have record female employment

3:51:453:51:50

in this country but as the Secretary

of State rightly said earlier, it is

3:51:503:51:53

not just about getting in, it is

about getting on, I couldn't agree

3:51:533:51:56

more hand is why I am so pleased to

see Labour's's announcement we will

3:51:563:52:03

ask business to take a more

proactive approach. The onus will be

3:52:033:52:08

on ploy yeses to close the gender

pay gap or face fine, we have heard

3:52:083:52:13

agreement from across the House that

while we all celebrate the 100 years

3:52:133:52:18

since women gained the vote, there

is more to be done and it is

3:52:183:52:21

reassuring hear the pledges by the

Secretary of State, to tackle the

3:52:213:52:25

gender pay gap and to make sure

funding for women's refuges is

3:52:253:52:30

protected. Protected. The first

speaker also chair of the women and

3:52:303:52:34

equality Select Committee is a

determined passionate advocate for

3:52:343:52:38

equality, has worked very hard to

open doors and did does issues that

3:52:383:52:44

have never been tackled head on.

3:52:443:52:53

The member of Putney said that

gender inequality represents the

3:52:533:52:57

biggest waste of talent. She also

mentioned the sustainable talent

3:52:573:53:02

goals, as did the Member for Bethnal

Green and Bow. We want to stop FGM

3:53:023:53:10

and healthy equality. This is

International Women's Day, and we

3:53:103:53:12

have to help our sisters across the

globe and continue to ask ourselves

3:53:123:53:18

difficult questions about our own

gender balance. The Member for

3:53:183:53:22

Birmingham Yardley spoke powerfully

and move the House with her list of

3:53:223:53:26

murdered women. Every one of those

women should be here today, and it

3:53:263:53:29

is our absolute duty to make sure

they are never forgotten. The member

3:53:293:53:33

Phil Lewis and Bethnal Green and Bow

talked of the horrors of war, and

3:53:333:53:39

women facing rape being trafficked

and sold as sex slaves. The first

3:53:393:53:43

female member Coventry told us that

although we now have 208 women in

3:53:433:53:47

Parliament, that is still only 32%

the House. It was also lovely to

3:53:473:53:53

hear about her mother who inspired

her to enter politics. Other members

3:53:533:53:56

spoke about the girl guide movement.

Further great contributions from

3:53:563:54:00

Charles would -- Chelmsford, Erewash

and others. We owe a huge debt of

3:54:003:54:11

gratitude to the mother of the House

who has battled for our rights in

3:54:113:54:16

these areas the decades. The Member

for Gower talked about the all party

3:54:163:54:24

to at you group of setup for single

parents, and I proud of that. The

3:54:243:54:30

Member for Kingston upon whole told

us about the women who helped to

3:54:303:54:33

form the movement that began the

Labour Party. Further talks from the

3:54:333:54:38

members for Boston and Skegness who

spoke of the dangers of restricted

3:54:383:54:44

abortion laws leading to serious and

life-threatening harm to women. The

3:54:443:54:47

Member for Walthamstow called

International Women's Day feminist

3:54:473:54:53

Christmas, but called for deeds not

words, and said that the course of

3:54:533:54:57

progress is agonisingly slow. She

also mentioned period poverty, a

3:54:573:55:01

cause we are fighting for the side

of the House. We finished with the

3:55:013:55:06

members for Hornsey and Wood Green

and Birkenhead calling for us to

3:55:063:55:11

commemorate those women who gave so

much to our fight for equality. So,

3:55:113:55:16

Mr Deputy Speaker, what a year it

has been for women. We have seen the

3:55:163:55:25

Me Too movement, the fabulous Megan

Marte -- Meghan Markle, and as we

3:55:253:55:33

know from even the few examples,

young women and old continue to push

3:55:333:55:37

boundaries, challenge expectations

and work hard. Not because they are

3:55:373:55:43

women, but simply because they are

brilliant. As my friend the Shadow

3:55:433:55:48

Minister mentioned earlier, the

International Women's Day flag is

3:55:483:55:50

now flying proudly as the sun begins

to set over Westminster. Events

3:55:503:55:55

celebrating the day are continuing,

and this evening I will be speaking

3:55:553:55:58

at an event with the incredible,

championing her campaign to get a

3:55:583:56:03

50/50 Parliament. Equality in

representation on these very

3:56:033:56:08

benches.

I thank the honourable

member forgiving way, and height

3:56:083:56:16

commend her for her first outing at

the despatch box, and I will be

3:56:163:56:19

joining her later to speak at the

same event. Would she say a word

3:56:193:56:23

about the importance of campaigns

like the 50/50 Parliament, and the

3:56:233:56:28

campaign which I understand led

partly to us having the honourable

3:56:283:56:33

member ever in this place, and it is

something every body within and

3:56:333:56:36

outside this House can do to help

improve representation of women, to

3:56:363:56:42

see women in their community who

would be amazing representatives,

3:56:423:56:47

and Ask Her To Stand.

I know that my

honourable friend as an ambassador

3:56:473:56:52

for the the campaign, and I know

that I wouldn't be here without the

3:56:523:56:59

Ask Her To Stand campaign. It allows

people to ask for women in all areas

3:56:593:57:07

of life to stand, and we know there

is not enough representation. I be

3:57:073:57:12

tweaked a 50/50 treat, there is

always one or two men, I'm afraid to

3:57:123:57:17

say, who asked why we need equal

representation, but the answer is

3:57:173:57:21

simple. Women make up 51% of this

country's population. We need to see

3:57:213:57:26

that here on these benches, pure and

simple. So I will be going to that

3:57:263:57:31

event later on, and I'm an

ambassador of that campaign. We need

3:57:313:57:35

women in the home, and we need women

in the House, this House. We need

3:57:353:57:39

women to stand up and say, I'm proud

of my gender, I'm proud of my

3:57:393:57:43

mother, and proud of my daughter, I

am proud. With that I will say a

3:57:433:57:49

very simple happy International

Women's Day to men and women. Thank

3:57:493:57:51

you very much, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Mr

Deputy Speaker, it is a genuine

3:57:513:57:59

pleasure to be here in today's

debate, and may I follow in the

3:57:593:58:03

excellent footsteps of my Shadow

number in wishing everybody a very

3:58:033:58:10

happy International Women's Day. If

I may say so, that was a very good

3:58:103:58:15

speech at the despatch box, and I am

now worried that she is my shadow,

3:58:153:58:18

that's all I'm saying! I would like

to thank everyone who has attended

3:58:183:58:25

today's debate and contributed. We

are fortunate to have so many great

3:58:253:58:30

advocates for gender equality in

this chamber, and who have done so

3:58:303:58:33

much in their own way to improve the

lives of women and girls. Now, this

3:58:333:58:40

debate has of course had aids very

serious, indeed it's heartbreaking

3:58:403:58:44

moments. Which I will address in due

course, but before I do, let's

3:58:443:58:50

celebrate. Let's reflect on the

moments of celebration. Many members

3:58:503:58:54

highlighted the notable women and

women's charities in their

3:58:543:58:59

constituencies, both nowadays but

also historically. My are bought

3:58:593:59:04

friend, the honourable member for

Kingston upon Hull North gave a

3:59:043:59:10

fascinating and detailed speech on

the history of women protesting to

3:59:103:59:15

improve working conditions, and she

named Lily Bilocca is not having

3:59:153:59:24

been named before, I named her other

despatch box, so I hope that goes

3:59:243:59:30

some way to address that inequality.

And of course this year being the

3:59:303:59:33

centenary of women's suffrage, many

members focused on the women who

3:59:333:59:40

have been here in this House before

them, and also other political role

3:59:403:59:45

models. My honourable friend the

member Phil Lewis -- the Member for

3:59:453:59:59

Lewe talked about the valuable work

that has been done to bring peace

3:59:594:00:05

and about her mother who swept to

power in Coventry Council in 1979.

4:00:054:00:09

And there we had accommodation

because the honourable member for

4:00:094:00:11

1's inward Green told us about the

fact that her constituency has been

4:00:114:00:18

represented by women for 21 years,

but my are bought friend for Erewash

4:00:184:00:25

was able to say that her

constituency has been represented by

4:00:254:00:28

women had 26 years, of these

competitions that go on, the better.

4:00:284:00:33

I we of course course heard from

many members about the role that the

4:00:334:00:39

honourable member for Camberwell and

Beckham has inspired so many women

4:00:394:00:45

to stand for Parliament, and her

role as the mother of Parliament, in

4:00:454:00:49

which I know she has had many

celebrations this year in terms of

4:00:494:00:53

the suffrage which it would be a

real joy to celebrate with her. But

4:00:534:00:57

I would also like to add to this

list, because I am not the first

4:00:574:01:02

member of Parliament, female member

of Parliament, for Louth and

4:01:024:01:09

Horncastle. I am preceded by a lady

called Margaret Winteringham, who

4:01:094:01:15

was elected in 1921, the second ever

female member of Parliament and the

4:01:154:01:20

first-ever female member of

Parliament who was born in this

4:01:204:01:22

country. And I feel very much the

privilege of following her, albeit

4:01:224:01:30

many decades later, because in 1920

when she was talking about equal

4:01:304:01:36

pay. And of course, depressingly,

several decades later, we are still

4:01:364:01:40

talking about equal pay. But there

is one way in which we have moved

4:01:404:01:47

forward since Mrs Winteringham

campaign to become a member of

4:01:474:01:49

Parliament, and that is in the way

in which we conduct our general

4:01:494:01:54

election campaigns, because Mrs

Winteringham did not utter a word,

4:01:544:01:57

apparently, on the election Trail in

1921. I have to say of course I've

4:01:574:02:01

taken a very different approach to

how I run my campaigns. But I've

4:02:014:02:08

also been really impressed by the

determination across the House of

4:02:084:02:13

Commons to encourage women to stand

for Parliament and in local

4:02:134:02:17

councils. My honourable friend the

Cheadle highlighted that only 17% of

4:02:174:02:21

council leaders are female, and that

is a figure we must improve, because

4:02:214:02:27

we know how valuable female

councillors can be across the

4:02:274:02:31

country, and the honourable member

for Bethnal Green and Bow had a

4:02:314:02:34

phrase which very much caught my

attention, which was having the

4:02:344:02:36

audacity to stand. I think we should

all be more audacious in that

4:02:364:02:42

regard. I was asked this morning by

a journalist about challenges I have

4:02:424:02:47

faced in politics, and I had to tell

him about one occasion I was

4:02:474:02:51

canvassing on the doorstep in 2015

where I knocked on the door and the

4:02:514:02:55

lady said to me, I said, may I count

on your support, and she said, no,

4:02:554:03:00

and I said, why is that Chris McCann

she said, because you're a woman. I

4:03:004:03:09

didn't know what to say to that, so

I moved quickly on. Of course no

4:03:094:03:22

mention of a determination to

improve equality in this place would

4:03:224:03:26

go without mentioning the

contribution of my right honourable

4:03:264:03:29

friend the Basingstoke, who not only

is a member of Parliament but as a

4:03:294:03:34

Cabinet Minister and now as chairman

of the women and equality select

4:03:344:03:39

committee has done an incredible

amount to ensure equality not just

4:03:394:03:44

for women but for same-sex couples

as well, and I think I'm right, I

4:03:444:03:49

hope I'm correct in paraphrasing her

speech is being a member of

4:03:494:03:53

Parliament is the best job in the

world. And so with that, I hope we

4:03:534:03:57

will all encourage this year women

to think about standing for

4:03:574:03:59

Parliament. And the award for

avoiding mansplaining must go to the

4:03:594:04:10

only man who spoke in this debate,

my honourable friend and neighbour,

4:04:104:04:15

the member from Boston and Skegness.

I have to say, I think the mirroring

4:04:154:04:19

the comments that have been made by

others across the House, I think we

4:04:194:04:22

are lucky to have male colleagues

like him in the House supporting our

4:04:224:04:25

cause. But now I turned to the

serious aspects of the debate, and

4:04:254:04:32

of course I must start with the

contribution of the honourable

4:04:324:04:37

member for Birmingham Yardley, who

as she has in years past read out

4:04:374:04:42

the names of women who have been

killed since last year's

4:04:424:04:48

International Women's Day. And I

join others in wishing fervently

4:04:484:04:53

that we will be able to have a day

celebrating women wear the

4:04:534:04:58

honourable member does not have to

read that list out. Because of

4:04:584:05:02

course home should be a place of

love, of support and safety. No one

4:05:024:05:11

should have to suffer violence or

abuse. And this is why today we have

4:05:114:05:16

launched a consultation on domestic

abuse seeking to transform our

4:05:164:05:22

country's approach to domestic

abuse, widening the definition so

4:05:224:05:27

that we understand that abuse isn't

just confined to physical violence,

4:05:274:05:31

but can take inside a logical

violence and economic abuse, and

4:05:314:05:37

addressing at every stage where we

can the fact that we need to

4:05:374:05:40

intervene earlier to support the

women and the children who are

4:05:404:05:45

victims of this terrible abuse, and

where possible, to break the silence

4:05:454:05:50

of violence, the cycle of violence,

with the offender. In short, we want

4:05:504:05:55

the question to change from, why

doesn't she leave him to, why

4:05:554:06:02

doesn't he stop? And I very much

hope that members across the House

4:06:024:06:07

will be able to contribute across

the conversation and use their

4:06:074:06:14

networks to encourage others to

contribute to this consultation is

4:06:144:06:16

that we can ensure that the Bill

that follows and all of the

4:06:164:06:19

non-legislative measures are as

ambitious and brave as we can make

4:06:194:06:24

them. But then we've heard much

discussion about women in work, and

4:06:244:06:31

the standout statistic for me today

was the statistic put forward by my

4:06:314:06:39

right honourable friend the Member

for Putney, who again with all her

4:06:394:06:43

considerable experience in the

Cabinet has done so much to further

4:06:434:06:48

the cause of equality, not least as

the preceding Secretary of State for

4:06:484:06:54

women and equality. And the fact

that if we were to encourage gender

4:06:544:06:57

equality, if we were to achieve it

across the world, that would add £28

4:06:574:07:04

trillion to global GDP, that is a

startling fact. We in the United

4:07:044:07:08

Kingdom are doing our bit because we

have the highest rate of employment

4:07:084:07:13

of women ever, and we are working

hard to support women in work so

4:07:134:07:18

that they can fulfil their potential

and achieve their ambitions, and we

4:07:184:07:22

are taking strong action in this

area. I hope that the deadline of

4:07:224:07:25

the 4th of April is ingrained in

every chief executive's mind,

4:07:254:07:32

because we know that large employers

are going to have to tell as their

4:07:324:07:35

gender pay gap by that date. And

contrary perhaps to suggestions that

4:07:354:07:41

may have been made, we are not just

doing this because we like

4:07:414:07:44

collective figures. We are doing

this because we want to establish

4:07:444:07:47

the situation in terms of where

there are pay gaps, and

4:07:474:07:57

We heard about flexible work, we are

working to normalise that. 97% of UK

4:07:574:08:03

workplaces offer that, there is more

to do, and we know that schemes such

4:08:034:08:09

as shared pressure alleave and also

encouraging those people who have

4:08:094:08:14

taken time off work, to care, they

are returning to work, investing a

4:08:144:08:19

great deal of money to increase

opportunities and support for those

4:08:194:08:23

who are returning to work.

But we cannot do this alone, we need

4:08:234:08:28

employers to take bold action, to

ensure women are just as able to

4:08:284:08:33

fulfil their potential and use their

talents and skills as men. This

4:08:334:08:38

country cannot succeed fully if one

half of its population is held back.

4:08:384:08:43

Now, flowing from work, of course,

is education. And several colleagues

4:08:434:08:50

emphasise the importance that

education plays in setting girls up

4:08:504:08:55

to flourish in the workplace and

have equal accuse is easy to high

4:08:554:09:00

paying sectors as their male

counterparts. We have invested in

4:09:004:09:06

project, in subjects including maths

and complete science, we are raising

4:09:064:09:10

awareness of the arrange of careers

stem qualifications offer, through

4:09:104:09:16

initiatives such as stem ambassadors

and we continue to deliver high

4:09:164:09:19

quality apprenticeships which

provide choice for young women and

4:09:194:09:22

men as they consider their future

career. We heard about Ada Lovelace

4:09:224:09:32

that was fascinating. We heard about

the scientist behind Mr Whippy

4:09:324:09:37

ice-cream. A certain Margaret

Thatcher. I learned something new

4:09:374:09:40

today! We reflect on fact this is

not domestic women's day, or

4:09:404:09:46

national women's day, this is

International Women's Day, and

4:09:464:09:50

several members spoke about this.

Mentioning the Rohingya and

4:09:504:09:55

Bangladesh, in particular. It is not

only at home where this Government

4:09:554:09:59

has made real progress to improve

the lives of women and girl, we are

4:09:594:10:04

respected globally for world leading

legislation and policy sand we

4:10:044:10:07

continue tot play a key role on the

international stage to press for

4:10:074:10:11

change. We are committed to making

sure that all women have the same

4:10:114:10:16

opportunities and choices, no matter

where they live. UK aid has a Huang

4:10:164:10:20

impact on the lives of millions, it

is supported more than 6,000

4:10:204:10:27

communities across 16 countries, to

make public commitments to end

4:10:274:10:31

female genital mutilation. That

represents 18 million people. More

4:10:314:10:36

than twice the population of London.

And it has enabled 8.5 million women

4:10:364:10:43

to access modern methods of family

plan, empowering women to make

4:10:434:10:48

choices about their own bodies but

we want to build on this. As with

4:10:484:10:52

have heard the department for

international developments Secretary

4:10:524:10:57

of State, launched her strategic

vision for gender equality

4:10:574:11:00

yesterday. This recognises that

gender equality cannot be treated as

4:11:004:11:05

an isolated issue, but must be

embedded into everything we do, and

4:11:054:11:09

it sets out how we plan to continue

our global leadership role. I am

4:11:094:11:15

proud of this Government's ambition

to improve the rights of women and

4:11:154:11:18

girls globally. We need to be

ambitious if we are co-don't making

4:11:184:11:27

progress in areas such as and if we

are going to create a word where

4:11:274:11:31

girls can have equal rights and

freedom as described by the

4:11:314:11:36

honourable member for Bristol West.

In conclusion today's debate has

4:11:364:11:40

highlighted what we all already

knew, that there is, we have

4:11:404:11:44

achieved some, things but there is

still a way to go, and there is

4:11:444:11:48

hutch more to be done before we

achieve gender equality, both within

4:11:484:11:52

the UK, and around the world.

But I do want to end this debate on

4:11:524:11:57

a positive note, because the this is

own one day of the year where we get

4:11:574:12:03

to celebrate women, and so, I want

to highlight the brilliant women, in

4:12:034:12:10

the social economic political and

cultural contributions they make, of

4:12:104:12:12

course we have heard from the Home

Secretary that the United Kingdom

4:12:124:12:16

has its second female Prime

Minister, which is particularly apt,

4:12:164:12:20

given we are celebrating the

centenary of suffrage and we sit in

4:12:204:12:24

the most diverse Parliament we have

ever had. And in the past year, we

4:12:244:12:29

have seen women breaking barriers in

public life and in industry. Last

4:12:294:12:36

year crease Dick became the first

ever female commissioner of the

4:12:364:12:40

Metropolitan Police, and Dany Cotton

became the first female commissioner

4:12:404:12:43

of London Fire Brigade.

And already this year, we have seen

4:12:434:12:49

Sarah Clark make history as the

first female Black Rod and the Royal

4:12:494:12:55

Mint has appointed its first female

chief executive in over 1,000 year,

4:12:554:12:58

and of course we have the first

female President of the stream court

4:12:584:13:03

Baroness Hale who I have no doubt

will be doing all she can to improve

4:13:034:13:09

the equality within the judiciary.

But we're we NHS Trust not -- must

4:13:094:13:13

not forget three out the four medals

Team GB took home were won by women.

4:13:134:13:21

Lizzy Yarnold became the most

decorated winter Olympian taking a

4:13:214:13:26

gold in the Scotland on the, anyone

who hurtles down ice chutes at 80mph

4:13:264:13:31

on what I can only describe as a tea

tray deserves all of our respect.

4:13:314:13:36

But we want this celebration to

continue beyond International

4:13:364:13:40

Women's Day, this year is the year

we are celebrating the, celebrating

4:13:404:13:45

our history but I hope seeing it as

the start of the century of women,

4:13:454:13:51

and I would urge every member of

this House to take part in any way

4:13:514:13:55

they can, whether by supporting

women's organisations, speaking at

4:13:554:14:00

event, going into schools and

speaking and asking women whether

4:14:004:14:04

they will stand. We have a whole

package of celebration we are going

4:14:044:14:09

to have during the year, which will

be revealed at the year goes on, but

4:14:094:14:14

one example of how we are going to

celebrate, I hope, is the holding of

4:14:144:14:20

equalities in June and July, across

the country, to share debate and

4:14:204:14:26

celebrate our right to vote over a

cup of tea and a slice of cakeful

4:14:264:14:30

those are aiven often the answer to

many things in life. I am delighted

4:14:304:14:35

we are celebrating with that. To

conclude. My, when my grandmother

4:14:354:14:41

was born, no woman had the right to

vote, we fast forward two

4:14:414:14:47

generations, and I am here, at the

despatch box and we have a female

4:14:474:14:52

Prime Minister leading the

celebration, I leave this question

4:14:524:14:54

to the House. What more can we

achieve in another two generations?

4:14:544:14:59

That is our challenge. Thank you.

The question is this House is

4:14:594:15:11

considered International Women's

Day, as many of that opinion aye.

4:15:114:15:14

The contrary no. The ayes have it.

The ayes have it. We now come to

4:15:144:15:21

motion two on business of the House,

minister to move.

4:15:214:15:24

The question is as on the order

paper as many of that opinion say

4:15:244:15:30

aye. The ayes have it.

The question is this House do now

4:15:304:15:38

adjourn.

Thank you. Thank you Mr

Deputy Speaker. We have very long

4:15:384:15:45

memories, in the west country, so I

want to first take you back in time.

4:15:454:15:53

400 years ago, in 1607 it was said

that huge and might themes of woo

4:15:534:15:57

tear -- water poured across the

County moving at a speed described

4:15:574:16:03

as faster than a greyhound can run.

Water covered and devastated land.

4:16:034:16:08

That was the last time. The House

will remember that the winter of

4:16:084:16:13

2013/14 was the wettest in Somerset

for 250 years.

4:16:134:16:20

150 square kilometres of land was

completely submerged for weeks. The

4:16:204:16:27

Environment Agency said 100 million

cubic metres of water covered

4:16:274:16:32

Somerset's fertile soil, and by my

reckoning that means we were up to

4:16:324:16:37

our necks in 40,000 Olympic swimming

pools of water. 165 homes were

4:16:374:16:44

floodeded. 7,000 businesses were

affected. 81 roads were closed. I

4:16:444:16:50

will never forget making visit to a

village not by road but by boat. I

4:16:504:16:58

stood in people's homes destroyed by

water but had only just been flooded

4:16:584:17:02

1 months before. Livelihoods were

driven to the brink and people were

4:17:024:17:06

driven to despair. And the cost to

Somerset was estimated at £147

4:17:064:17:12

million. And, as those waters

receded, more than just the pair

4:17:124:17:19

earth reveal itself. We saw also

that perhaps one or two things had

4:17:194:17:23

been neglected too. Local people

rightly argued in fact they argued

4:17:234:17:29

fairly strongly not enough

contingency planning had taken

4:17:294:17:33

place, by definition, they cried, we

have been living with ensufficient

4:17:334:17:38

flood management means and so on. We

felt in fact like the son of

4:17:384:17:49

Promethus, who saw the extent of the

destruction and felt grief so great

4:17:494:17:53

that tears kept pouring from his

eye, his wish was to create a new

4:17:534:17:58

form of humanity. Our wish was to

create the Somerset rivers

4:17:584:18:02

authority.

Mr Deepty speaker, the people of

4:18:024:18:07

Somerset are no strangers to local

action to locals gathered themselves

4:18:074:18:13

up and a summoned various flood risk

authorities, Somerset's County

4:18:134:18:21

Council, our five noble distribute

council, the Environment Agency and

4:18:214:18:27

other inland drainage boards, and

then with £1.9 million stumped butty

4:18:274:18:38

the Government collected into the

SRA. This body prang from the 20

4:18:384:18:42

year flood action plan which had

been put together following the

4:18:424:18:46

floods at the very sensible request

of my right honourable, the then

4:18:464:18:53

deaf are Secretary of State. I

remember well Wading through water

4:18:534:18:56

to meet him, then, and I have talked

to him about it more roostly to

4:18:564:19:03

discuss the need to keep a lit lid

on the Verity, the duration and

4:19:034:19:08

impact of flooding.

I must point out, that the SRA

4:19:084:19:16

wasn't a usurper, it doesn't

diminish the roles of the other

4:19:164:19:20

flood partners, it acts to improve

the joint working of these bodies.

4:19:204:19:24

In essence it gives us an extrael

level of flood resilience. It does

4:19:244:19:34

extra work, provides extra

information and co-ordination.

4:19:344:19:35

-Ordination. With without wanting to

go into the my knew that, it

4:19:354:19:41

overseas the flood action plan

across five area, dredging an river

4:19:414:19:44

management. Land management,

infrastructure and building local

4:19:444:19:49

resilience. The SRA has overseen 09

projects with 22 more planned for

4:19:494:19:56

2018/19. And some of these have

dozens of different elements so

4:19:564:20:02

hundreds of areas haven benefitted.

This year the SRA is maintenance

4:20:024:20:08

dredging four kilometres of a river,

it is monitoring silt for a future

4:20:084:20:14

dredging programme, it is designing

an implementing a variety of flood

4:20:144:20:20

management capital works to hold

water in the upper catchment and

4:20:204:20:24

reduce peak flows. It is rolling up

its sleeves and undertaken

4:20:244:20:29

improvements and carrying out a high

way flood risk reduction scheme with

4:20:294:20:35

desitting and gully jetting. Fee

dishly clever schemes have been

4:20:354:20:41

developed like injection drill, used

on the Tone River it can achieve

4:20:414:20:47

what used to take four months and at

a small function of the cost.

4:20:474:20:56

-- fraction of the cost. I could go

on all day about the soil

4:20:564:21:02

management, cropping technique,

channel clear rans, housing plan,

4:21:024:21:06

draining, the tidal barrier, that is

is a big one, and the endless flood

4:21:064:21:10

management schemes but you get the

picture. Their cup runneth over, so

4:21:104:21:16

our cup doesn't run over. Such river

authorities are obviously essential

4:21:164:21:21

to the continued enjoyment of life

in low lying areas but they do face

4:21:214:21:25

a problem. As so often it comes down

to money. Those this time it is more

4:21:254:21:32

of a structural issue. The SRA has

ploughed on silently and definitely

4:21:324:21:38

manages our waterways to keep our

feet dry and so far we have paid for

4:21:384:21:43

this by coughing up a small shadow

reSeptember on our council tax bill,

4:21:434:21:47

plus a bit of money from drainage

boards and a spot of growth deal

4:21:474:21:51

funding. I should explain that the

term shadow precept refers to the

4:21:514:21:58

extra flexibility granted to

Somerset councils in 2016 as part of

4:21:584:22:03

the local Government finance

settlement. But many in Somerset,

4:22:034:22:06

myself included would like to see

this put on a permanent stat

4:22:064:22:12

industry footing, and the SRA itself

has also been calling for

4:22:124:22:17

legislation to put its finances on

top same stable long-term footing,

4:22:174:22:22

as a precepting body. At the moment,

because it receives annual funding

4:22:224:22:29

on a voluntary basis it is obviously

a hand-to-mouth existence. The SRA

4:22:294:22:35

is unable to coherently plan ahead.

4:22:354:22:46

A stable funding arrangement in the

form of a local precept would allow

4:22:464:22:51

such authorities to plan more

effectively and more efficiently,

4:22:514:22:55

locking in the improved protection

for the good people of Somerset into

4:22:554:23:00

the future. The original 20-year

flood plan did include the

4:23:004:23:07

aspiration to allow Somerset's River

authority but we did know that this

4:23:074:23:13

would involve legislation. We knew

that we would need to create a

4:23:134:23:17

powerful the Secretary of State to

create statutory Rivers authority is

4:23:174:23:22

and to advent of precept authorities

listed in the local government

4:23:224:23:25

Finance Act of 1992. Now, this I

hope we can actually achieve, but

4:23:254:23:32

before I come onto that, I must talk

briefly about internal drainage

4:23:324:23:36

boards. That may not be a phrase you

want to hear everyday, but internal

4:23:364:23:41

drainage boards, IDBs, are a vital

part of management risk. Our three

4:23:414:23:52

IDBs beaver away for us, reducing

flood risk. I'm very much aware that

4:23:524:24:00

there are 12 areas of India are not

fortunate enough to be in Somerset,

4:24:004:24:04

and many of those less favoured

parts of the country do not have the

4:24:044:24:08

benefit of an IDB, and legislations

around these bodies prevent them

4:24:084:24:15

from being established. In essence,

this is really down to an anomaly in

4:24:154:24:19

the valuation of land under the

legislation which is getting a bit

4:24:194:24:24

long in the tooth now I think. As an

example, this is very much the case

4:24:244:24:30

in Cumbria, where the local Flood

action plan drawn up by the

4:24:304:24:32

community there after the 2015

floods calls for the establishment

4:24:324:24:36

of a new IDB. But they are stuck,

they can't do it. So I think that we

4:24:364:24:45

here in this place should address

this as soon as possible, so that

4:24:454:24:49

all parts of England and Wales that

desire and IDB can have one. Who

4:24:494:24:55

would not want to reap the same

benefits as my own constituency

4:24:554:24:59

enjoys? Who would not want to be in

my own constituency, quite frankly?

4:24:594:25:03

Mr Deputy Speaker, it really would

be remiss of me at this point not to

4:25:034:25:09

commend the Government, though, for

the action it continues to take to

4:25:094:25:14

reduce flood risk, and a significant

new investment that has been

4:25:144:25:18

provided for this area. In fact,

between 2016 and 2021, the

4:25:184:25:24

Government's putting £2.6 billion

into flood defences and building

4:25:244:25:31

1500 new flood schemes that will

better protect almost a third of a

4:25:314:25:35

million homes! These kind of

initiatives continue to improve the

4:25:354:25:39

protection of people right across

the country, but there is also a

4:25:394:25:43

need for local action to reduce

flood risk. And as I've already set

4:25:434:25:48

out, in Somerset we have the Rivers

authority and we have three internal

4:25:484:25:54

drainage boards, but we just need to

understand the future for them. In

4:25:544:26:00

January 2017, the Government's

response to the Efra report made

4:26:004:26:09

clear the intention to introduce

presetting legislation as soon as

4:26:094:26:12

possible and three time became

available. And they're finding

4:26:124:26:17

conclusion, I would like to draw the

attention of the House to the Rivers

4:26:174:26:20

authority on land drainage bill but

I have introduced this week, which

4:26:204:26:26

would enable the Government to

deliver on this commitment, and I'm

4:26:264:26:30

glad to say, I'm delighted to say,

that the Government is fully

4:26:304:26:34

supporting the Bill along with many

members of this House, including the

4:26:344:26:36

chair of the Efra select committee,

my honourable friend the member of

4:26:364:26:43

the Tiverton and monitoring. So I do

look forward very much to my

4:26:434:26:46

honourable friend the Minister's

thoughts and remarks. As she is

4:26:464:26:51

aware, my bill would not only allow

the Secretary of State to establish

4:26:514:26:56

the Somerset Rivers authority is a

statutory and presetting body, thus

4:26:564:27:03

placing its feet and hours on dry

and safe land, but it will also

4:27:034:27:10

remove the preserve in setting up

and expanding drainage boards. So I

4:27:104:27:16

would like to put on the record

might as here thanks to our

4:27:164:27:18

honourable friend for her and her

Government's supporting this

4:27:184:27:22

process, and I think I speak for

much of Somerset when I say we all

4:27:224:27:26

hope that this will soon mean that

nothing can leak over the top of our

4:27:264:27:30

wellies for some years to come.

4:27:304:27:33

It is a pleasure to reply to this

debate tonight, and I congratulate

4:27:384:27:42

my honourable friend the Member for

Somerton and frame for securing the

4:27:424:27:45

debate. He spoke very powerfully

about the devastation caused by the

4:27:454:27:50

flooding and described it eloquently

as all honourable members are aware,

4:27:504:27:53

flooding can have a devastating

effect on people's lives, not only

4:27:534:28:02

on the immediate effect, but also

the mental health that can be

4:28:024:28:07

triggered when a future heavy rain

Paul Stanley Genk, raising the worry

4:28:074:28:10

about potential future flooding.

Indeed, I have supported my own

4:28:104:28:14

constituency on the Suffolk coast in

flooding in recent years, so I have

4:28:144:28:18

first-hand experience. Whilst the

Government continues to invest in

4:28:184:28:20

better protected communities from

flooding, and I know you are very

4:28:204:28:25

keen for us to invest in Lancashire,

it is also important that we are

4:28:254:28:30

empowered to take further action.

I'm really pleased to say that my

4:28:304:28:32

honourable friend is correct in

saying that the Government support

4:28:324:28:35

his private members bill on Rivers

authority is on land drainage. This

4:28:354:28:38

modest bill could if successful

deliver real change. As my

4:28:384:28:43

honourable friend will be all too

aware, the Somerset Levels and moors

4:28:434:28:46

are a context environment of highly

manage lowlands that are often

4:28:464:28:50

susceptible to flooding. The

flooding in 2013 and 14 was one of

4:28:504:28:55

the worst in living memory, and

especially for the people of the

4:28:554:28:58

Somerset Levels and moors. Many

homes, businesses and farmlands were

4:28:584:29:02

affected, with whole communities

becoming cut off as the main roads

4:29:024:29:05

and railways became impassable.

Alongside this there was significant

4:29:054:29:11

flooding on a site of special

scientific interest. This unique

4:29:114:29:15

area susceptible to flooding from

rivers because of the artificial

4:29:154:29:18

rate banks are they flow along, and

also from the coast on the Bristol

4:29:184:29:21

Channel is tidal range, which is the

second-highest the world. Not only

4:29:214:29:26

does this cause tidal flooding, but

it also holds back flood water, and

4:29:264:29:30

makes River flooding worse. Added to

this, the low-lying land act as a

4:29:304:29:36

reservoir holding back floodwater.

Following these floods, as my

4:29:364:29:41

honourable friend pointed out, there

was a strong political desire for

4:29:414:29:45

coordination across the county to

devise a bespoke new initiative.

4:29:454:29:50

That's why in January 2014 my right

honourable friend the Member for

4:29:504:29:54

North Shropshire who was then

Secretary of State asked Somerset

4:29:544:29:59

County Council and the Environment

Agency to work with the local

4:29:594:30:01

community and come up with a Flood

action plan looking at the different

4:30:014:30:05

options for how flood risk could be

managed on the Somerset Levels and

4:30:054:30:08

moors over the next 20 years. This

action plan led to the concept of a

4:30:084:30:13

new body, Rivers authority, and

recommended the creation of such a

4:30:134:30:16

body in Somerset. This was with the

aim of creating a way for the

4:30:164:30:21

different bodies which have the

responsibility of interest in Flood

4:30:214:30:24

risk management to work together

better. It was formally established

4:30:244:30:29

in January 2015, as a partnership

between 11 of Somerset's risk

4:30:294:30:35

management authorities, Somerset

County Council, the five district

4:30:354:30:41

councils, the brew and Parrett

drainage boards, on the coast

4:30:414:30:48

committee. I understand how

important this issue is to the

4:30:484:30:51

people of Somerset, and likely on

one member I am also personally

4:30:514:30:54

supportive of the work of the

Somerset Rivers authority which had

4:30:544:30:58

the opportunity to see from myself

when I visited Somerset last year.

4:30:584:31:03

The SRA's role is to coordinate the

local Flood risk management

4:31:034:31:06

authorities, utilising the expertise

of individual partners in supporting

4:31:064:31:10

additional Flood risk management

works, which may not otherwise have

4:31:104:31:13

been possible, such as enhanced

river maintenance, including an

4:31:134:31:17

ordinary watercourses. It does not

seek to replace existing Flood risk

4:31:174:31:21

management authorities or their

funding mechanisms. As my rubble

4:31:214:31:24

friend said, the Government

supported the Somerset Rivers

4:31:244:31:28

authority in the beginning with £1.9

million of start-up funding, and

4:31:284:31:31

commissioned a review into the

long-term funding options. This

4:31:314:31:35

review recommended giving the

Somerset Rivers authority presetting

4:31:354:31:40

powers to raise additional funds. To

secure their for the SRA's future,

4:31:404:31:44

we would need new legislation to

give the Secretary of State the

4:31:444:31:49

powers to create Rivers authorities.

I'm pleased to say that this is

4:31:494:31:56

provided for in clause one of my

honourable friend's bill. Not only

4:31:564:31:59

does the Government want to do this,

but this is also what the local

4:31:594:32:03

community in Somerset has been

calling for, and that's why I hope

4:32:034:32:06

the Bill makes progress during this

Parliament. However, this decision

4:32:064:32:10

is not made lightly, and the

Government recognises that any

4:32:104:32:13

precept will be funded by taxpayers,

but that is already the case with

4:32:134:32:17

the interim arrangements. The

current funding arrangements for the

4:32:174:32:20

SRA, it is far from ideal, and a

permanent solution is required. By

4:32:204:32:26

making the SRA and autonomous

precept authority, it will be more

4:32:264:32:29

transparent, and would ensure the

money is ring fenced solely for its

4:32:294:32:33

important work. By adding the SRA to

the character of major precepting

4:32:334:32:39

authorities, it would have the

safeguards set out in the act,

4:32:394:32:44

including the requirement for a

referendum of the precept exceeds a

4:32:444:32:48

set amount. Furthermore the Bill

also sets out to regulations that

4:32:484:32:51

Parliament will have the opportunity

to scrutinise further how a Rivers

4:32:514:32:55

authority should be composed in

terms of its governance. And whilst

4:32:554:32:58

my honourable friend is right to

point out this would create a new

4:32:584:33:03

category of major precepting

authorities, the situation in some

4:33:034:33:06

at Azeez unique in that the water

complex, the convex interplay of

4:33:064:33:11

water, means that all of these

matters are self contained within

4:33:114:33:15

the one county, and word is built to

be successful, the Government would

4:33:154:33:21

certainly look to implement the

representations promptly. My

4:33:214:33:24

honourable friend was also generous

to talk about internal drainage

4:33:244:33:29

drainage board, and these are

included in the Somerset Rivers

4:33:294:33:35

authority, for the North Somerset

Levels and the River Parrett.

4:33:354:33:42

Internal drainage boards often load

locally as IDBs one of the oldest

4:33:424:33:48

forms of democratic decision-makers

in the UK, and their history goes

4:33:484:33:52

back to the 13th century. Their main

focus then was the drainage of

4:33:524:33:56

agricultural land in low-lying

areas, but since then they have

4:33:564:33:58

evolved to play a wider role that

remains to this day a key partner in

4:33:584:34:02

Flood risk management at the local

level. This includes playing a major

4:34:024:34:06

role in the identification and

delivery of capital project in the

4:34:064:34:09

local communities. This model has

worked well around the country, but

4:34:094:34:12

including that of the Suffolk

Coastal, with the east Suffolk IDB,

4:34:124:34:18

but as my honourable friend said,

not everybody has such a body, and

4:34:184:34:21

many of those that already exist

would like to expand their

4:34:214:34:25

boundaries. One such player that

doesn't have a body and has suffered

4:34:254:34:28

devastating flooding in recent years

is Cumbria, and they have been

4:34:284:34:32

requested the creation of new IDBs,

similar to the SRA, these requests

4:34:324:34:38

have come from the Flood action plan

that was devised after significant

4:34:384:34:42

flooding. And what is stopping them

is a combination of issues. There

4:34:424:34:47

are missing or complete valuation

lists, and the current legislation

4:34:474:34:53

does not allow any other values to

be used. This applies to both new

4:34:534:35:01

and existing IDBs, so a change in

legislation is required. My

4:35:014:35:07

honourable friend is generous with

his bill, because he has made sure

4:35:074:35:12

that there is that change that will

be achievable within his bill when

4:35:124:35:16

he added three clauses that can help

create new IDBs where there is local

4:35:164:35:22

consensus and can enable existing

IDBs to expand the local consensus.

4:35:224:35:27

In short, the Bill enables a

Secretary of State to establish an

4:35:274:35:31

alternative methodology for the

calculation of the value of the land

4:35:314:35:35

in an IDB, and it will in able the

value of his agency to share the

4:35:354:35:39

most up-to-date information. And

finally it will enable the Secretary

4:35:394:35:42

of State to establish an alternative

methodology for the calculation of

4:35:424:35:45

the value of chargeable property,

agricultural land and buildings, in

4:35:454:35:49

an internal drainage district. All

three clauses include regulation

4:35:494:35:53

making powers that will provide

Parliament with the opportunity to

4:35:534:35:56

scrutinise them further in due

course, and I would restate these

4:35:564:36:00

changes would only go ahead of the

local communities want them to. As I

4:36:004:36:04

said earlier, the Government support

my honourable friend is built and

4:36:044:36:07

what it is try to achieve, and I am

aware also, Mr Dibley Speaker, that

4:36:074:36:11

there is appetite for an internal

drainage board to be created in

4:36:114:36:13

action. Mr Deputy Speaker, the SRA

and IDBs play an important role

4:36:134:36:21

across the country and a crucial

role in flood risk management at the

4:36:214:36:24

local level. I hope that this debate

has demonstrated that to the House.

4:36:244:36:27

The unique challenges of the

Somerset Levels and Moores make it

4:36:274:36:32

necessary and appropriate to create

the Somerset Rivers Authority and to

4:36:324:36:34

put it on a secure footing to

coordinate and manage flood risk

4:36:344:36:38

into the future. This important body

could do even more secure funding

4:36:384:36:42

each year. I am very grateful to my

rubble friend for using this debate

4:36:424:36:48

-- my honourable friend for using

this debate to propose the

4:36:484:36:51

legislation, and I'm confident that

the debate will continue and

4:36:514:36:54

honourable members will want to

debate it further in committee once

4:36:544:36:57

it receives its second reading

hopefully a week Friday. It is

4:36:574:37:01

International Women's Day, and I

wanted to just place on record my

4:37:014:37:05

thanks to the permanent Secretary of

Defra, Clare Moriarty, one of those

4:37:054:37:12

still in the minority of permanent

secretaries across the civil

4:37:124:37:14

service, but she shows great

leadership to our department, and I

4:37:144:37:17

also wanted to point out Mr Deputy

Speaker not that I haven't found

4:37:174:37:20

time to buy a card for Mother's Day

this Sunday, but for many people in

4:37:204:37:24

this House, their woman of the year

will always be their mum, and I want

4:37:244:37:27

to wish my mother the best for

Sunday, but I promise I am not tight

4:37:274:37:32

on this, I make sure I will get out

and buy a card straightaway after

4:37:324:37:35

this important debate.

4:37:354:37:37

Stable long-term

4:37:394:37:39

The question is now this house do

adjourn. The ayes have it. The

4:37:424:37:45

order. Order.

4:37:454:37:47

First I would like to pay testament

to the continued professionalism

4:40:094:40:14

dedication and courage of the

emergency services.

4:40:144:40:18

They have handled this incident with

their attentiveness, alackry trian

4:40:184:40:25

sense of public duty.

In doing so, first responders put

4:40:254:40:30

themselves in dangerous situations

on a date to day basis. This

4:40:304:40:35

incident has underlined that fact

which I will sadly return to later.

4:40:354:40:40

I will update the House as far as is

possible based on the current facts

4:40:404:40:44

of the case.

At approximately 4.15 Sunday

4:40:444:40:49

afternoon Wiltshire Police received

a call from a member of the public,

4:40:494:40:53

who was concerned for the welfare of

two people in a park in Salisbury.

4:40:534:40:57

Emergency service were called and

the two admitted to the A&E

4:40:574:41:03

Department of Salisbury District

Hospital. They were a man in his 60s

4:41:034:41:07

and a woman in her 30s with

noviceable signs of injury, they are

4:41:074:41:15

understood to be Sergei and Yulia

Skripal. I regret to inform the

4:41:154:41:21

house a police officer has also

fallen seriously ill. The officer

4:41:214:41:25

was one of the first responders on

Sunday acting selflessly to help

4:41:254:41:30

other, officers from Wiltshire

Police are providing support to the

4:41:304:41:34

officer's family and colleague, our

thoughts are with with all three

4:41:344:41:38

victim, their family and friend at

what for them will be an incredibly

4:41:384:41:43

difficult time. The police began an

investigation to determine how the

4:41:434:41:47

individuals fell ill and whether a

crime had been committed.

4:41:474:41:51

They declared a major incident on

Monday. On Tuesday, the Metropolitan

4:41:514:41:56

Police decided that given the

unusual circumstances,

4:41:564:42:01

responsibility for the investigation

should transfer to the

4:42:014:42:04

counter-terrorism police network.

Network. Samples from the victims

4:42:044:42:13

have been tested at part on the down

by experts in this field.

4:42:134:42:19

As Assistant Commissioner Mark

Rowley said yesterday that analysis

4:42:194:42:23

has revealed the presence of a nerve

agent and the incident is being

4:42:234:42:27

treated as attempted murder. I can

confirm it is highly likely the

4:42:274:42:32

police officer has been exposed to

the same nerve agent.

4:42:324:42:36

We remain in the middle of a fast

paced criminal investigation, and I

4:42:364:42:40

will not comment further on the

nature of the nerve agent.

4:42:404:42:44

We must give the police the space

they need to conduct a thorough

4:42:444:42:49

investigation. All members will

recognise in an investigation such

4:42:494:42:53

as this it will be complex and it

could take some time. Public safety

4:42:534:42:57

continues to be the number one

priority for the Government. Dame

4:42:574:43:02

Sally Davis, the Chief Medical

Officer stated yesterday that based

4:43:024:43:04

on the evidence we have, there is a

low risk to public health.

4:43:044:43:10

The UK has a world leading emergency

response. It is regularly tested and

4:43:104:43:15

exercised, to ensure we can deliver

and effective response to a wide

4:43:154:43:20

range of chemical biological and

radiological incidents.

4:43:204:43:24

The three emergency services are

well supplied with state-of-the-art

4:43:244:43:28

equipment to respond to such

threats. The front line response is

4:43:284:43:34

supported by scientific retch is and

advice, this ensures that decision

4:43:344:43:38

making on the ground by all agencies

involved, is firmly based on the

4:43:384:43:43

available evidence. This will

support the decontamination active

4:43:434:43:48

the to return the location to

normality. The police are working

4:43:484:43:53

closely with Public Health England,

Defra, and DSTL. They have cordoned

4:43:534:43:59

all known sites in Salisbury visited

by the two initial victims before

4:43:594:44:03

they became unwell, and are taking

the necessary #34esh yours to

4:44:034:44:07

protect public safety. Mr Speaker, I

want to turn to the speculation of

4:44:074:44:13

which there has been much about who

was responsible for this most

4:44:134:44:19

outrageous crime, the use of a nerve

agent on UK soil is a brazen act.

4:44:194:44:23

This was attempted murder in the

most cruel and public way. People

4:44:234:44:26

are right to want to know who to

hold to account. But if we are to be

4:44:264:44:31

rigorous in this investigation, we

must avoid speculation and allow the

4:44:314:44:36

police to carry out their

investigation. As the Assistant

4:44:364:44:40

Commissioner said yesterday, the

investigation now involves hundreds

4:44:404:44:44

of officers following every possible

to lead to find those responsible.

4:44:444:44:48

Some have come from members of the

public. I would like to thank the

4:44:484:44:52

people of Salisbury for their help

and the calm they have shown. I

4:44:524:44:57

encourage anyone who visited

Salisbury town centre on Sunday

4:44:574:45:02

afternoon and has not spoken to the

police, to get in touch. We are

4:45:024:45:07

committed to doing all with deto

bring the perpetrator tray toers to

4:45:074:45:11

justice whoever they are and where

ever they may be. The investigation

4:45:114:45:14

is moving at pace and this

Government will act without

4:45:144:45:17

hesitation, as the facts become

clearer.

4:45:174:45:19

As my right honourable friend the

Foreign Secretary made clear on

4:45:194:45:24

Tuesday, we will respond in a robust

and appropriate manner when we

4:45:244:45:29

ascertain who was responsible. Mr

Speaker I would like to close where

4:45:294:45:34

I began by expressing my thank to

the emergency service and hospital

4:45:344:45:40

staff. They have acted with utter

professionalism, to both minimise

4:45:404:45:44

the risk to the wider pub ling and

care for victims of this attack, foi

4:45:444:45:48

which I no we are all grateful. --

for. Our thoughts will be with the

4:45:484:45:54

victims. I thank members for their

understanding there will be limits

4:45:544:45:59

on what we can say as the

investigation continues. As and when

4:45:594:46:03

information can be made public it

will be. Mr Speaker, I commend the

4:46:034:46:07

statement to the House.

My Lords, firstly I thank the noble

4:46:074:46:16

lady Baroness William of

photographrd to for repeating the

4:46:164:46:20

statement given by the Home

Secretary in the other place,

4:46:204:46:23

earlier today. I join with the noble

lady in paying tribute to the

4:46:234:46:29

continued professionalism,

dedication and courage of our

4:46:294:46:32

emergency services. They handle the

incident with their usual dedication

4:46:324:46:39

and with their sense of public duty,

putting themselves at risk to

4:46:394:46:43

protect the public.

The two individuals we believe to be

4:46:434:46:50

Sergei and Yulia Skripal are in a

critical but stable condition.

4:46:504:46:55

The police officer who has been

taken seriously nil the line of duty

4:46:554:46:59

is conscious and talking, and we all

know that the staff of the NHS

4:46:594:47:04

treating the three individuals would

do everything possible to help them

4:47:044:47:07

and we mope they make a recovery.

Our thoughts are with them and their

4:47:074:47:13

family. The investigation is under

control of the Metropolitan Police,

4:47:134:47:19

counter-terrorism police network.

The safety of the public must be the

4:47:194:47:23

number one priority for the

Government, and we fully support

4:47:234:47:27

them and the police, and the

agencies is in what they are doing

4:47:274:47:30

to keep us safe.

This crime is an outrageous act

4:47:304:47:36

committed on British soil and we

condemn that. I accept entirely we

4:47:364:47:42

must fully, always avoid unhelpful

speculation and a thorough

4:47:424:47:45

investigation is the only way to get

to the truth, and bring the

4:47:454:47:50

perpetrators to justice. If the

noble lady could comment and confirm

4:47:504:47:55

the determination to just that, we

on this side of the House fully

4:47:554:47:59

support them in that aim. I gain

express my thanks to all the

4:47:594:48:04

dedicated professional in the

police, other emergency services.

4:48:044:48:11

Time and time again workers go

beyond the call of duty to help

4:48:114:48:14

others and this is another example

where we owe them a great debt. They

4:48:144:48:20

will keep the House further

informed.

4:48:204:48:26

I also thank the minister for

repeating the statement and pay

4:48:264:48:30

tribute to emergency services, and

issue I want to return to shortly.

4:48:304:48:36

And our concern tos the police

officer and the other victims, their

4:48:364:48:41

families and friend. I appreciate

the investigation is Ron going but

4:48:414:48:45

can the minister confirm that one of

the victims was a Russian citizen,

4:48:454:48:49

who was a British spy, or a double

agents, that Vladimir Putin has in

4:48:494:48:56

effect made death threats against

and the Government should be telling

4:48:564:48:59

Parliament as much as it can about

such incidents. The statement talks

4:48:594:49:12

about well rehearsed CBRN procedures

buzz think are deployed when it is a

4:49:124:49:18

known CBRN threat. What reassurance

can the minister give such

4:49:184:49:24

procedures will be reviewed so first

responders are not put in danger as

4:49:244:49:28

the police officer who first

attended this incident has been put

4:49:284:49:31

in danger? The statement talks about

protecting British citizens but what

4:49:314:49:37

risk assessments are carried out on

Russian citizen, living in the UK?

4:49:374:49:42

Particularly those who may have

risked their lives to assist the UK

4:49:424:49:46

in the past. We on these benches

have expressed concerns about

4:49:464:49:54

reductions in border force, with

reliance placed on electronic gates

4:49:544:49:58

and remote ports and small air feel

fields not having sufficient

4:49:584:50:02

protection. A situation that is

likely to be made worse if we

4:50:024:50:07

continued to

4:50:074:50:17

Brexit

Can the minister speculate how on

4:50:174:50:20

earth a highly toxic nerve agent was

smuggled into the country, assuming

4:50:204:50:25

it wasn't stolen from a government

facile any this country? Is the

4:50:254:50:29

Government satisfied that border

force is properly funded and the

4:50:294:50:32

borders are secure? My Lords, as I

say I pay tribute to the emergency

4:50:324:50:38

services but I also pay tribute to

the security and intelligence

4:50:384:50:42

services, and I have to say, in the

interactions I have had with those

4:50:424:50:48

service, I am confident that we have

among the best security and

4:50:484:50:52

intelligence services in the world,

that clearly in an arm's race, with

4:50:524:51:00

hostile foreign powers we need to be

ensuring that those Security

4:51:004:51:05

Intelligence Services are properly

funded. And my Lords, as I said to

4:51:054:51:08

begin with, I also want to pay

tribute to the emergency services

4:51:084:51:12

and particularly to the Police

Service, as in this case, often the

4:51:124:51:17

first to arrive at the scene. Never

knowing what dangers they face. I

4:51:174:51:23

wish the officer in this case a

speedy recovery. The Government have

4:51:234:51:28

continued to say that we need fewer

police officers because crime is

4:51:284:51:34

falling, but this incident is one

example of the police being the

4:51:344:51:39

service of last resource. Having to

deal with people inty tress and as

4:51:394:51:45

we saw last week, police officers

responding to people trapped in the

4:51:454:51:49

appalling weather. Nothing to do

with crime. And the fact that these

4:51:494:51:56

police officer, these brave police

officers never know the sorts of

4:51:564:51:59

dangers they are facing, and ending

up ooze this officer has seriously

4:51:594:52:06

ill in hospital, or as Keith Palmer

did nearly a year ago, gave his life

4:52:064:52:12

in order to protect us in this

place. The Government appear in the

4:52:124:52:16

eyes of operational police officers

to be treating the Police Service

4:52:164:52:20

with contempt, freezing salaries,

cutting their pensions and reducing

4:52:204:52:25

police budgets in real terms.

4:52:254:52:32

Can the noble baroness the Minister

tell the House when the Government

4:52:334:52:36

will reverse its anti-police agenda?

First of all me I code the words of

4:52:364:52:48

both the noble lord Kennedy and the

noble lord paddock in praising our

4:52:484:52:55

emergency services in the highest

possible terms in what they risked

4:52:554:53:00

to help these two individuals, which

of course did lead to one of the

4:53:004:53:06

policemen indeed being taken ill,

and he is still in hospital. It

4:53:064:53:12

brings into play the noble lord's

question about the danger to our

4:53:124:53:16

emergency services, and all possible

risk assessments done to mitigate

4:53:164:53:23

such injury to the police. My lords,

what I could say is that certainly

4:53:234:53:32

in the CBR N area that he talked

about, these procedures are

4:53:324:53:41

constantly reviewed, and people are

trained to the highest possible

4:53:414:53:46

level, but in an emergency situation

like this, we can all appreciate

4:53:464:53:49

that sometimes people's lives will

be at risk, people are put in

4:53:494:53:56

danger, and that is why we have the

highest regard for the police. The

4:53:564:54:02

noble lord talked about police

budgets, and the police said to us

4:54:024:54:08

early last year about the amount of

additional police officers needed to

4:54:084:54:16

do their job, and we feel that in

the budget that they can attain this

4:54:164:54:23

year they will have those numbers of

police and more to do the job that

4:54:234:54:30

they do, but it does not detract

from the fact that the injury to

4:54:304:54:35

this police officer and indeed the

death of PC Palmer some months ago

4:54:354:54:42

just bring into sharp focus the

dangers the police do put themselves

4:54:424:54:45

into. Noble lord Kennedy asked the

question, if I could reiterate the

4:54:454:54:57

Government's determination to bring

the perpetrators to justice, I said

4:54:574:55:01

that in question earlier, I don't

repeat that now, we are absolutely

4:55:014:55:05

determined to bring those to

justice. The noble lord Lord paddock

4:55:054:55:12

asked me if I could confirm that one

of the individuals was a Russian

4:55:124:55:16

spy. I'm not in a position to

comment further on the victims other

4:55:164:55:24

than in my statement where I

confirmed their names. He also asked

4:55:244:55:34

about borders. How did the substance

enter the country and how sure are

4:55:344:55:38

we of effective border control? My

lord, I'm not prepared to comment on

4:55:384:55:47

an ongoing operation. We adopt a

rigorous approach to border

4:55:474:55:53

security, and agencies work together

at the border to manage a range of

4:55:534:55:56

threats including those posed by

terrorism and serious and organ.

4:55:564:56:01

This includes carrying out 100%

immigration and security checks at

4:56:014:56:06

the private control point, advanced

checks being available, and

4:56:064:56:10

intelligence led targeting airports.

Border Force has at its disposable

4:56:104:56:16

range of capability to detect,

target and identify substances and

4:56:164:56:21

materials that could cause harm.

I

wonder whether the Minister might

4:56:214:56:29

like to assure us that whereas

Portland is a very famous authority,

4:56:294:56:38

it works closely with the United

States, and there were ready

4:56:384:56:43

comparisons and supportive

investigations of that sort.

I do

4:56:434:56:50

apologise to the noble lord, did he

say Porton, as in Porton Down? We do

4:56:504:57:01

core operating various areas, but on

this particular issue, I don't know

4:57:014:57:04

whether we call operate with the US,

but I can certainly find that out

4:57:044:57:08

for the noble lord.

I think the

House will understand why my noble

4:57:084:57:13

friend the Minister has to be very

circumspect when answering questions

4:57:134:57:18

about the investigation, the ongoing

investigation. And also will

4:57:184:57:21

appreciate that she has told the

House that it is a matter of utmost

4:57:214:57:30

priority that the perpetrators will

be sought out and justice served.

4:57:304:57:35

The incident involving the death of

Alexander Litvinenko doesn't provide

4:57:354:57:40

a very happy precedent in terms of

the time that elapsed between his

4:57:404:57:44

poisoning and before a High Court

judge finally concluded that this

4:57:444:57:47

was the result of deliberate Russian

activity. I wonder if the Minister

4:57:474:57:53

could reassure us that quite apart

from the criminal investigation, the

4:57:534:57:57

Home Office will take responsibility

to ensure that all matters

4:57:574:58:03

surrounding the very serious

injuries and we hope they are just

4:58:034:58:06

injuries to these two will be

investigated, and all the other

4:58:064:58:12

lessons learned from Litvinenko and

other questionable incidents will be

4:58:124:58:15

learned so as to reduce the

possibility of recurrence?

I can

4:58:154:58:21

confirm to buy noble friend that all

matters surrounding this will be

4:58:214:58:24

investigated thoroughly. I can't

stress that enough, actually. And in

4:58:244:58:31

terms of Litvinenko and lessons

learned, my lords, the murder of

4:58:314:58:39

Alexander Litvinenko was a blatant

unacceptable breach of the most

4:58:394:58:42

fundamental tenets of international

law uncivilised behaviour. At the

4:58:424:58:47

time, the Government responded

robustly following the report, and

4:58:474:58:54

we made protestations in the

strongest possible terms to the

4:58:544:58:59

Russians and put in asset freezes

against the main suspect. We have

4:58:594:59:03

demanded for my noble friend's

information and will continue to

4:59:034:59:07

demand that the Russian government

account for the role of the FSB in

4:59:074:59:12

the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

Whilst I appreciate that the

4:59:124:59:23

circumstances are very similar

indeed, and a carbon copy of what

4:59:234:59:27

occurred in the case of Litvinenko,

does the noble baroness agree that,

4:59:274:59:36

if that be the case, it is not just

an attack upon a person, but an

4:59:364:59:40

attack upon the sovereignty of this

land?

I think as I said on quite a

4:59:404:59:47

few occasions this morning, that is

jumping the gun as to the conclusion

4:59:474:59:52

of the police, and I would do that

in what is an ongoing investigation.

4:59:524:59:59

So the noble lord will I hope

understand that I can't answer his

4:59:595:00:02

question fully.

Would my noble

friend in due course when more

5:00:025:00:11

information is available to her

consider the risk of such substances

5:00:115:00:15

not so much coming in from a spy in

a small port or airport, but the

5:00:155:00:19

risk of it coming in on a

wide-bodied jet into a major UK

5:00:195:00:26

airport under diplomatic immunity,

and would she if that proves to be a

5:00:265:00:30

possible route, take a very firm

luck, however inconvenient it is in

5:00:305:00:34

terms of reciprocity with other

countries, at what might come in

5:00:345:00:38

through our major airports in that

way?

I appreciate my noble friend's

5:00:385:00:47

question, and completely appreciate

where such an event might lead to

5:00:475:00:56

should a toxic or noxious substance

come in through our major airports.

5:00:565:01:01

The security and detection

arrangements at our airports are

5:01:015:01:03

stronger than ever before, so I hope

my noble friend is comforted by

5:01:035:01:08

that. But we do assess risk of the

border all the time, and in fact my

5:01:085:01:15

noble friend points to something

which is the change in risk at the

5:01:155:01:19

border, risks that were there may be

years ago, now are in terms of the

5:01:195:01:25

various ways in terms of which

people can bring things into the

5:01:255:01:27

country.

In the Alexander Litvinenko

case, many members of your

5:01:275:01:35

lordship's house, myself included,

were involved in the updating of the

5:01:355:01:38

public health laws that we had in

this country, some of which went

5:01:385:01:41

back to the previous century. Could

I just ask the noble baroness that

5:01:415:01:47

along with her colleagues in the

Department of Health, that they in

5:01:475:01:51

due course report to the House

whether those legislative changes

5:01:515:01:56

were sufficient to deal with what

seems at this stage to be a somewhat

5:01:565:02:03

similar incident?

Certainly Public

Health England worked in conjunction

5:02:035:02:10

with the police in the immediate

aftermath of this event and clearly

5:02:105:02:18

are involved in the ongoing recovery

of the individuals concerned. I will

5:02:185:02:25

take that point back, and provide an

answer for the noble lady if I can.

5:02:255:02:33

There appears to be a difference

between the Litvinenko case and this

5:02:335:02:38

case in that in the former case, the

Litvinenko case, a substance was

5:02:385:02:45

used which left a very clear track

and was very easy to follow through

5:02:455:02:49

on it. Whereas it would appear from

what was said that the nerve agent

5:02:495:02:53

that was used in this case does not

appear to have left a trail, or if

5:02:535:02:59

it has done, there has been no

comment about it so far, so it may

5:02:595:03:04

be that lessons were learned by the

perpetrator of Litvinenko about this

5:03:045:03:10

situation, and I hope that we will

also learn or have learned the

5:03:105:03:13

lessons from our handling of the

Litvinenko case, where the initial

5:03:135:03:17

response last for quite some time

was quite inadequate, and very

5:03:175:03:21

clearly commentators have loved the

perpetrators with the feeling that

5:03:215:03:25

we were a soft touch, and so we will

have to be even more robust in our

5:03:255:03:31

response this time than might have

been the case if we hadn't had that

5:03:315:03:35

not so good example for us.

My

lords, I am going to disappoint my

5:03:355:03:42

noble friend, I know, when I say

that the cause of the two

5:03:425:03:49

individuals' illness is subject to

investigation, and it is not

5:03:495:03:52

appropriate at this time to comment

or link it to other cases, but what

5:03:525:03:57

I would say to my noble friend and

concur with him that we will always

5:03:575:04:01

have lessons, always lessons to be

learned in how we respond to

5:04:015:04:10

emergency situations and situations

of this nature.

My lords, when it

5:04:105:04:17

comes to state-sponsored murder,

Russia certainly has form. It was

5:04:175:04:23

not that long ago that Seguier

Levitsky was killed mysteriously in

5:04:235:04:32

jail. As a result of that, minute

ski's law was brought into American

5:04:325:04:42

statute, stopping known enemies

bringing their money and themselves

5:04:425:04:50

into that country. Other countries

have followed. This has not

5:04:505:04:58

implemented the law, and I wonder

whether given the impunity with

5:04:585:05:04

which the Russians seem to treat us,

not just our referendum but those

5:05:045:05:08

living here, whether our noble

friend might be inclined to revisit

5:05:085:05:11

that today.

We are committed to

promoting and strengthening

5:05:115:05:19

universal human rights, absolutely

we are. We talked about this case at

5:05:195:05:22

length jeering at the criminal

finances act, and also through the

5:05:225:05:28

sanctions bill. We want to hold to

account states responsible for the

5:05:285:05:34

worst violations. We already have a

range of powers similar to the those

5:05:345:05:42

in the Magnitsky act...

5:05:425:05:47

Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons, including a statement from home secretary Amber Rudd on the Salisbury poisoning incident and a general debate marking the centenary of Parliament granting the first women the right to vote and International Women's Day.